Global pressures will force businesses to adopt a strategic approach to HR if they want to be successful.
Brett Walsh, European head of human capital at Deloitte, said that globalisation, coupled with more legislation and technology, along with changes to the economy and demographics would create an ever greater role for HR.
"When you are in a growing market you need a strategy. We are in a growing market now," he told delegates at the Lexis Nexis/Personnel Today HR Strategy for Competitive Advantage conference in London last week.
A focus on retention rather than recruitment would help to alleviate skills shortages, Walsh said.
"The most fundamental [thing] stimulating the strategic HR debate is changing demographics," he said. "The number of 16-29 year-olds coming into the jobs market is down 11 per cent since the late 1980s. Companies want to grow but there isn't the rocket fuel coming in at the bottom."
The key to good retention was creating a psychological contract with staff based on trust, he said.
To achieve this, companies would need to make sure people were promoted into roles that were suitable for them, not just because there was a space that needed filling, Walsh added.