HR jobs survey points to brighter future

Personnel Today’s front-page ‘HR jobs slashed’ headline last week sent shockwaves through the profession, along with news that HR recruitment had hit an all-time low. So you may be relieved that this week’s contradictory news paints a somewhat brighter picture.

A survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters predicts that the HR jobs market is expected to hold up in 2009, “due to the growing prominence of HR in overall business strategy”. It even predicts salary hikes for certain HR roles.

So while – as one leading director warned – “there is no place for HR people who are coasting”, not all HR professionals should be in panic mode.

Who is in demand? Interims, HR business partners with employee relations experience, and those who can implement change agendas and boost cost efficiencies, says the survey. Of course those who have already built a reputation for doing more with less will be in the strongest position.

Clearly it’s time to take advantage of the ‘valuable’ restructuring experience that was not available during the boom, or try to ride out the recession in sectors showing the greatest resilience, with energy, utilities, and food retailers among them.

Talking to HR directors at the Business Summit in Birmingham last week, there was an incredible air of optimism about the challenges that lay ahead, with few planning to adapt their HR strategies to reflect the current climate.

While the confidence was refreshing, let’s hope it’s not indicative of denial, and a reluctance to change that equals reactive rather than proactive HR.

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