Boston Consulting Group and European Association for Personnel Management survey reveals talent management tops European challenges list

European organisations will face five major HR challenges in the future, with managing talent the top priority, according to a survey of European HR professionals.

The study of 1,355 practitioners in 27 European countries, conducted jointly by the Boston Consulting Group and the European Association for Personnel Management (EAPM), identified five critical challenges:

  • Managing talent

  • Managing demographics

  • Becoming a learning organisation

  • Managing work-life balance

  • Managing change and cultural transformation.

However, so far only 30% of respondents said they had begun to tackle all five of these top challenges.

In the UK, managing talent in an increasingly global context emerged as one of the core challenges for HR. In other European countries, specific circumstances have catapulted topics other than talent management to the top of the HR agenda.

Managing demographics, for example, was cited as the top future HR issue in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Italy, managing change and cultural transformation was the top concern for HR professionals.

Hans Böhm, general secretary of the EAPM, said: “HR has never played a more important role in business than it does today. We live in an age of intellectual property and knowledge-based industries we live in an ageing society and we live in a global economy offering multiple job opportunities for individuals.

“HR executives must face these challenges to draw on human capital as a major source of competitive advantage.”

While the top-five topics that emerged in the survey are all long-range and strategic, the report said HR professionals seeking to gain the trust of senior board executives should also focus on the basics, such as recruitment and induction.

One of the key findings of the survey is that executives outside HR are more likely to approve of the performance of HR teams if the function masters basic activities.

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