HR defiant recession has not hurt career prospects

HR professionals are defiant that the recession has not hurt their career prospects despite a major report showing that the HR jobs market was still in serious decline compared to other sectors.

The Monster Employment Index this week revealed the number of HR jobs available was still narrowing, with May’s reading of 56 the second worst in 15 months, for the second month in a row.

Overall, the Monster Employment Index UK – a monthly analysis of millions of online job opportunities culled from corporate career sites and job boards – decreased by three points in May compared to April, to reach a level of 109. The baseline figure is 100.

However, research by Hays Human Resources, seen exclusively by Personnel Today, found 74% of the 269 HR staff surveyed had seen no job cuts in their department as a result of the recession. Just one-fifth said they had lost confidence in the security of their profession, with 45% claiming the economic crisis had helped them increase HR’s worth to the business.

Vanessa Robinson, head of HR organisation development at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told Personnel Today: “HR people may be feeling more secure now because they see beyond the immediacy of redundancies that they are needed to turn things around for longer term.

“They’ll be called on to rebuild employee engagement and similar things that have suffered as a result of redundancies and the recession.”

Tim Osborne-Jones, talent management lecturer at Henley Management College, said HR had played a big part in suggesting clever ways of working during the recession to save jobs, which would be recognised by chief executives.

“There have been some very imaginative and innovative responses to current the recession when compared to the 1980s and 1990s, aimed at retaining essential talent and the organisation’s reputation,” he said, citing pay cuts at Honda and shorter working weeks at KPMG.

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