HR recruitment - market opportunities

Written by
Changeboard Team

04 Jan 2010

04 Jan 2010 • by Changeboard Team

HR recruitment trends

The types of roles available to HR professionals over the past year have largely been dictated by the recession. A number of companies have made significant changes to their business in 2009 and this has driven the need for redundancy and TUPE specialists.

The interim market has remained fairly buoyant throughout the current downturn. Organisations previously looking to recruit for permanent roles are now considering hiring interim managers. However, the number of HR professionals looking for jobs has also increased and specialist or career interims now have to compete with senior HR managers who are finding it harder to secure permanent positions or may be forced to consider interim work as a result of redundancy.

Demand for specific HR interim skills in the private and public sectors includes experience of change management, employee relations, downsizing, redundancy, project management, mergers and acquisitions, talent management and TUPE. Most senior managers will already possess the relevant skill experience but there are more marked skill shortages in some areas, for example in the compensation and Benefits field and also for World Class Commissioning (WCC) in the public sector. Many businesses have also revaluated the skills within their workforce and have found shortfall in certain key areas, leading to a large requirement for learning and development managers.

Public vs private sector opportunities

2009 was the year when attitudes towards the public sector changed dramatically. At the start of the recession, the public sector was viewed as a much more secure environment to work within and became increasingly attractive to many professionals. When surveyed by Hays Human Resources earlier this year, over half (63%) of HR professionals thought it was possible, but not easy, to switch between the public and private sectors; this is largely due to cultural differences. However, many parts of the public sector are currently undergoing a large-scale transformation, offering challenging and interesting working opportunities within HR for candidates from commercial backgrounds. As public spending is cut and with an election looming, the focus may revert back to private sector work in 2010.

HR value

The Hays survey also revealed that almost half (45%) of HR professionals felt that the recession has increased the value of their role. This is likely to be because the role of the HR professional has really gained visibility in this recession. The traditional image of HR just undertaking the hiring and firing is outdated and not in line with current responsibilities people in the wider organisation are starting to realise this.

The pressure is on to streamline teams, have transparent procedures and engage staff in a time when resources are limited. Organisations understand that people strategies such as talent management, strong recruitment processes and staff engagement are critical to an organisations success. HR professionals are responsible for designing and delivering these strategies and ensuring they are aligned to business objectives. HR has become a career in its own right and businesses are beginning to see the value that their HR teams add particularly following the downturn. Being involved in the wider business, obtaining buy-in from key stakeholders and making sure any changes are communicated effectively will help to improve the perception of HR and ensure that success is attributed to the HR team.

Workforce planning for 2010

Workforce planning is going to be key for 2010 as HR departments focus heavily on recruitment and retention. We are already starting to see employers hiring reward specialists to revisit reward structures, in some cases to streamline and cut costs, but in a lot of cases to help boost staff retention. Salary freezes have meant that HR departments have to be increasingly creative when it comes to Benefits and reward offerings. What will happen over the coming 12 months remains to be seen, however, rest assured that HR departments will be even more prepared to show how they add value.