Head of European Association of Personnel Management claims attracting and retaining talent is biggest HR challenge for next decade

Attracting and retaining talent is the biggest challenge facing HR executives across Europe over the next decade, according to the head of the European Association of Personnel Management (EAPM).

Talking exclusively to Personnel Today from the bi-annual EAPM conference in Vienna, association president Mike McDonnell said as the war on talent intensified, organisations would have to look much further afield for top people than previously.

“Even if a company is operating in a local market, it will have to look globally for the right people,” he said.

McDonnell warned that it would be the progressive employers that were most successful in attracting this scarce talent.

“Organisations will need to offer a good quality of life and infrastructure if they are to persuade people to relocate,” he added.

McDonnell, who is also director of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Ireland, said the next 10 years would be characterised by three major trends in the HR sector.

First, he said there will be a drive for functional excellence, with many activities being outsourced. The second movement will see HR departments become smaller and more strategic. “This will happen because HR issues, such as sourcing talent, are now top of boards’ agendas. This will result in a much closer fit between HR and the business,” he said.

McDonnell also predicted there would be a growing realisation that HR needed to be delivered by line managers.

“Managers will be recruited not because of their technical skills, but because of their deeper management expertise, and HR will support them,” he said.

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