The growth in the number of HR jobs available has outstripped that of any other sector as employers begin to rehire HR staff ahead of expected recovery.
The Monster Employment Index, out today, has revealed that the number of HR jobs advertised online increased by 8% between November and December last year.
On a scale where the baseline is 100, the index showed that the HR sector shot up from 66 to 71. This represented the third consecutive monthly rise, although the reading was still well below the 175 reading recorded in April 2008.
The Monster Employment Index for all industries grew by 3% in the same period, from 116 to 120.
The marked increase in HR vacancies recorded in the index for HR meant that the profession could be seen as a “lead indicator” for the direction of the economy as a whole, economists said.
Jonathan Der, a senior economist at Monster Worldwide, told Personnel Today: “It looks like the demand for HR has seen an uptick at the end of the year.
“It suggests that companies are shifting trends back to put themselves in a position where possibly in 2010 there will be more hiring taking place.
“Companies take on HR staff to enable them to take on more staff in the future. The general idea is that HR increases first then other industries follow.
“We expect to see that after the HR industry has its staffing in place then we would see a bigger turn around in other industries as far as hiring goes.”
But Der added that the rise could also be attributed to employers now seeking to “compensate for over-zealous cuts earlier in the year.”
It was too early to say with confidence that HR employment would continue to rise and to rule out a ‘double dip’ in the economy, Der said.
Meanwhile the Monster Employment Index showed that manufacturing and production job opportunities rose by 7% between November and December 2009, and enjoyed the biggest year-on-year rise, of 23%.
But Der warned that a lot of these jobs were temporary, so this was not necessarily indicative of a return to strength for the sector.
For specific occupations, plant and machine operators reported the steepest rate of decline in job opportunities in December, falling 5% from and index of 63 in November to 60, but elementary roles saw the largest rise, climbing by 9%, while managers saw no change in the number of job opportunities advertised.
The Monster figures come as the CBI and KPMG Report on Jobs found that permanent job placements increased at the fastest rate for nearly two-and-a-half years in December.