Tomorrow’s HR leaders look forward

20 years of Personnel Today - read more on our anniversary

HR has changed enormously in the past two decades. Can we expect a similar level of change over the next 20 years? Tara Craig quizzes students studying for an  MA in Human Resource Management at Kingston University .

Thomas Hoskins

I imagine that in 20 years I’ll be working full-time, in an office – preferably in employee relations. I don’t think homeworking will take off as much as people expect it to at the moment. There’s no human contact, and in human resources (HR) if you have no human contact, there’s really no point.

Thomas Hoskins

At the moment there’s still that attitude of ‘personnel’ in HR – particularly in the smaller companies. There will be more movement on the motivation side, particularly in the service sector, which will move away from that personnel element. Also – and this is a guess – it won’t actually be called HR. But I don’t know what it will be called.

HR will have a better reputation by 2028. A lot more businesses will align their HR strategies with their business strategies. We’ll see that more and more often. Men who’ve traditionally been in finance and accounting will move across to HR. There will also be more women at the top, as quality and diversity become prevalent.

Bansree Amin

I’d like to be either an HR consultant, or a business partner representing HR on a board of directors. That’s my ultimate goal. I’d like to work full-time, although I’ll have to factor in having children.

Bansree Amin

I hope there will be more innovative and creative policies and procedures in place, because the image of HR is evolving. Most importantly, I hope that HR is represented in top management. That’s the key to getting HR taken seriously. And that’s what I hope that my colleagues and I can change in the coming years.

HR has an emphasis on women, and I promote women in the workplace, but I think that at the same time there has to be a balance. I would encourage men to develop a career in HR. Or even just at a strategic level, as long as they have transferable skills.

Bodeun Critchell

Personnel management has come a long way in a short time – even in just the words we use to describe it. There will be both continuity and change.

Bodeun Critchell

Being both HR- and business-literate will be a prerequisite for managerial roles in HR. The advance of technology and the global marketplace will make IT expertise and foreign languages an enormous advantage, but the main challenge will be recognising the responsibility to adhere to organisational objectives and marrying that to the welfare of workers.

HR professionals will have less need to justify their roles than before. In 2028, HR will still be attracting people who want to make a difference. It could be anyone who’s focused, forward-thinking and enthusiastic, and there will be more men.

Personally, I’m going to set my sights high. I’m really interested in training and development, but particularly in relating that to sport. A training and development role at a Premier League football club – actually, it would have to be Manchester United – would be top of my list.

Ellie Clarke

I don’t think HR will be as easily ignored in 20 years’ time as it is now.

Ellie Clarke

A good HR department will be something that people look for in a company. The ‘personnel’ thing will die away. This isn’t an easy thing to introduce into a company, but I think in 20 years’ time HR will be established, and there will be a realisation that it can add value – and that it’s not just about spending money. It will become more important for HR people to sit on the board.

HR’s flexibility and the fact that its professionals can work across businesses will be appealing to highly-trained graduates.


Mame Kufuor

Mame Kufuor HR is a core function within the organisation as you need to have good staff to have a competitive advantage. It’s really developing in Ghana, my home country. There are a lot of multinational organisations coming into Ghana, and HR is becoming increasingly recognised.

Globalisation will continue to be a driving force. And organisations cannot just see diversity as a strategy – it has to be a core focus within HR, because the demographics of the workforce will be changing.

Diversity will be an even bigger focus for HR in 2028. There will also be more men than women – more of a balance. A lot of HR people will be recognised as strategic partners within their organisations.

Vicky Palmer

Vicky Palmer HR will change a lot more in the next 20 years than it has done in the past two decades – purely because of globalisation. Everything’s becoming much more complicated, with the growing diversity of the workforce. I hope it will lose its old ‘personnel’ image, and become a valued part of the business, as companies realise that they have to invest in HR, in the people.

There will have to be more HR directors on boards, so that companies can gain that competitive edge. It would be nice to see more men than at the moment to better reflect society.


Catherine Swain

Catherine Swain In 20 years’ time I’d like to be working flexibly and remotely. By then, I hope HR will be more strategic, and more business-orientated, with people respecting it a bit more. If it is to become more strategic, then more business-orientated, people will have to opt for HR – for the ‘hard’ side of HR.

Hopefully there will be a lot more men, which will even out how HR is viewed. I think there’s already a growth in the number of men, although we’ve only got five or six on the course. When I first started working, there were only women.


Dimitrios Tsoumpos

Dimitrios Tsoumpos In 2028, I expect to be office-based, and working full-time – preferably for a global company with an operation in Greece. I don’t think the HR situation will change that much in 20 years. HR will be more talent- and diversity management-orientated. Globalisation will have an impact.

HR professionals won’t change that much, either. The industry will still attract professionals who want to get the most out of people, to interact with them, to use their communication skills at work, and find it a joy to work with others.

The proportion of men to women won’t change that much, it will still be a female-dominated profession. It’s the same in Greece, although the senior places are taken by men. That’s something to look into. We need to know why that’s happening.

Lara Odeleye

Lara Odeleye I would like to work with people, to help them make the best of themselves in their chosen careers. It’s as simple as that. I really want to go into management consulting in the finance industry. I’d like to work flexibly – to be called to come in and sort out problems. To get it done and go.

In 20 years’ time, it will be more about integrating HR into the strategic business planning of the organisation. That’s what HR is fighting for. It’s impossible to develop a complete business strategy without input from HR. In 2028, HR will attract career-orientated, knowledgeable people – like me. It’s moving towards being a knowledge-based profession.

Mona El-Sahn

Mona El-Sahn In 2028, I expect there to be more computerised systems and less paperwork. There’ll be more outsourcing, too. Outsourcing more HR tasks will give us a greater opportunity to specialise. HR roles will still be mainly filled by women. It’s just that kind of mentality. Traditionally male jobs (like accounting) are very black-and-white – there’s a right and a wrong answer. With HR, you have to be more flexible.

People don’t always find men as approachable in the workplace. It’s nice that HR will continue to be a good career option for women, as men dominate so many areas of business. I think the HR director will definitely sit on the board. With the role of trade unions going down, HR has become a cushion for the employees, providing support for them.

Hiral Sheth

Hiral Sheth In 2028, I’ll definitely be working full-time, in the office with the team. You can’t do justice to a job if you’re doing it part-time. I hope to be a change agent.

HR will still attract people from the social sciences, who believe in shaping modern career paths. People who feel the need to understand the psychology of the job.

There are more women in HR in India, but it won’t change. That’s because women are psychologically adaptive – they understand change, and how to achieve it.


Kasie Okoli

In 20 years’, I see myself as an HR consultant, specialising in employee relations. I want to get some experience in England first, before returning to Nigeria. It will be really interesting when I go back because lots of what I’m learning here is not established in the Nigerian HR industry. I look forward to turning it around.

Kasie Okoli

Right now, Nigerian HR is much more focused on the employer side. It has not not really looked at the employee perspective. It will come gradually, but it will be very challenging – in Nigeria everything is about business, not the people working for you.

IT will have taken away the clerical aspects and the population will be ageing. The implications of that will be interesting. I haven’t quite figured them out yet, but they will be challenging.

Comments are closed.