Demand for HR professionals hits six-year high

Demand for HR staff is at its highest level for six years, according to new research.

The quarterly Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), produced by the Cranfield School of Management in association with Personnel Today, shows that 20% of organisations plan to recruit more HR staff in the next six months. The previous high in terms of demand was 17% when the RCI was first published in 2003.

The projected demand for HR staff has risen sharply since the last RCI survey in the summer, when only 11% of organisations were looking for personnel staff.

Emma Parry, of the Cranfield School of Management, said the increased demand was due to businesses looking for more specialist skills.

“Employers are looking for different sorts of people rather than more of the same,” she said.

According to Cranfield, employers have little fear about finding new HR staff, with the number of organisations expecting difficulties in recruitment falling from 33% to 21%.

This makes HR the easiest function to recruit staff for.

But Angela Baron, organisation and resourcing adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, warned that employers could be in for a shock if they believe that finding high-quality HR professionals will be an easy task.

“It is quite the reverse – people have been telling us that there is a shortage of good-quality staff,” she insisted.

Only the sales function, which has a notoriously high turnover rate, will require a greater number of new recruits, according to the 953 respondents to the survey. One in four businesses (24%) said they expected to recruit more sales staff in the next six months.

Who’s looking and who’s struggling

Who is looking for HR staff?

This need is greater in larger organisations, with only 7% of small organisations (25-99 employees) expecting to recruit in personnel compared to 53% of organisations with 500-999 employees and 26% of organisations with more than 1,000 employees. It is also much higher in the not-for-profit sector (59%) compared to the public (18%) and private (11%) sectors.

Who is having problems finding HR staff?

Recruitment difficulties were expected to be much higher in smaller organisations, with 79% of small organisations (25-99 employees) expecting difficulties compared to between 10% and 29% in organisations of more than 100 employees.

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