As we look towards the future of HR in 2023, let us first briefly look back at what we, as HR recruitment professionals, witnessed last year.
2022 saw a bounce back in HR recruitment following what was a difficult couple of years. Some of the key HR trends that we saw developing were:
We saw the COVID-19 pandemic accelerate the trend of remote working and although the world has moved on (or gone back!) in many ways, remote or hybrid working was still one of the key factors that candidates focused on when looking for new opportunities. Where employers resisted remote or hybrid working and required in-person employees, we saw a significant drop in the number of candidates interested in the role.
HR consultants leveraged technology to deliver more efficient and effective services, such as the use of data analytics to drive decision-making and virtual consulting services.
A combination of downturns and the recent pandemic resulted in a candidate-driven market, where employers had to consider their employee value proposition to attract top talent and act quickly to avoid missing out on it. The permanent HR market saw candidates considering multiple job offers and interim availability was tight. Availability of candidates within Recruitment, Reward and L&D space was limited, and we saw skills gaps form at the mid-level HR Generalist roles. Restrictions that had been put in place around limited entry-level hiring, reductions in training/development and a move to shared service models have played their part in fuelling the demand for talent – particularly at the HR Advisor level.
Diversifying Talent Pools
Over recent years, we’ve seen companies look to diversify their talent pools, however, 2022 saw a big push to hire candidates from a wider range of backgrounds, ages, and experiences. We were engaged by clients who looked to improve the employee experience, from attracting and retaining top talent to promoting a positive and productive workplace culture. This included supporting companies in areas such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and employee wellbeing.
We saw companies pay more attention to employee wellbeing and work-life balance throughout 2022, seeing organisations offer benefits such as flexible work arrangements, mental health support and wellness programs. When there are multiple opportunities in the market, this can help not only attract top talent but improve employee satisfaction and retention too.
Thinking about what’s in store this year, it is clear that global HR trends are shifting towards a more strategic and holistic approach to managing the workforce. Companies that prioritise employee wellness, reskilling and upskilling and strategic recruitment are seeing a range of benefits, including increased productivity, retention and overall business performance.
With the increased cost of living, 2023 has already seen an increase in union strikes, worker protests and demands for pay increases, so it is expected that the demand for HR talent to navigate employers through this will continue.
Another trend that is expected to gain traction in 2023 is the use of artificial intelligence in the HR space. From automating mundane tasks to analysing data to improve decision-making, AI has the exciting potential to revolutionise the way HR departments operate. However, it will be important for companies to tread carefully in this area and ensure that the use of AI is ethical and transparent.
According to a survey conducted in 2022, more than 75% of HR professionals believe that AI will play a significant role in the future of HR. In fact, nearly half of those surveyed said that their companies are already using AI in some capacity, with the most common applications being recruitment and employee onboarding (www.thehrdigest.com).
Last year we saw companies adapting to new ways of working and a changing talent landscape. These trends will continue to evolve this year and companies will need to stay on their toes to ensure they stay ahead of the competition in the ongoing mission for people.
Written by Laura Brownhill, Senior Recruitment Advisor.