Increasing numbers of redundancies and insolvencies, compounded by the rising cost-of-living, are creating a complicated working environment for many HR professionals – and changing the dynamic of recruitment in the sector. 

Following the pandemic, there was a surge in appetite for HR roles as businesses sought to grow, strengthen their employee value propositions (EVP), and prioritise automation, digitalisation, and organisational design. However, the market has since refocused to address the shifting economic environment in the UK. 

Some businesses are now looking to make redundancies, which means that demand for HR candidates within talent acquisition or total reward skillset has faded in favour of candidates with transformation and change management, organisational design, and talent and performance toolkits. 

Employers will need to keep an eye on competition and fluctuating demand if they want to successfully attract HR talent in 2023. In this breakdown, we’ll explore the knock-on effects of these market changes for the HR talent market. 

Salary fluctuations in HR

After large post-pandemic spikes, salaries are starting to level out. However, considering the current cost-of-living crisis and their proximity to hiring decisions, HR candidates will not take kindly to receiving a lowball offer – they know the salary benchmarks for their roles. Business leaders will need to get it right when hiring for HR professionals this year. 

At the same time, businesses are prepared to negotiate. Often, HR candidates will come to the table armed with performance scores and proof of their track record to show they are worth the salary they are asking for. 

While salary is important, the best HR talent will often care just as much about the total reward package, workplace culture, flexibility or hybrid working allowances, and job content. Companies need to have a strong and well communicated employee value proposition, one which shows prospective employees that they will be valued, and have opportunities for progression, as well as the flexibility they need to manage their personal and professional priorities.

Recently, we have seen more candidates focus on the benefits and reward packages on offer – potentially to offset lower salaries. Where enhanced benefits or competitive reward plans are not part of the package, employers will need to consider adding these on top of salaries, or they risk missing out on their first-choice candidates.

For a breakdown of the latest salary benchmarks in HR, as well as insights for your employee value proposition, download our 2023 HR Salary Guide today.

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Why a well-planned hiring process is key

Whether they are generalists or specialists, HR experts work with a wide range of stakeholders, and therefore understand how to make an accurate assessment of an organisation, its processes, and its people. They may simply walk away if they spot red flags in a hiring process.

Bearing in mind that HR professionals are looking for good workplace culture and flexibility in a new role, an effective process will display these qualities. A chaotic process, or one with rigid requirements, gives an impression of disorganisation and inflexibility, which could put candidates off the role. A long series of interviews with lots of hoops to jump through might give the impression that your company and stakeholders are indecisive or difficult to work with. 

It is important to remember that the HR talent market is still competitive – employers that don’t act quickly risk losing the best candidates. Bearing in mind that many could be in multiple processes, hiring managers should be prepared to interview and perhaps even make a decision within a week of receiving a shortlist. 

What if you can’t find the right person for the job?

It’s worth taking the time to make sure you are hiring someone who can meet your needs. If the right permanent candidate is not on the market, it could be worth considering an interim professional who can move things forward in the meantime. 

Finding the right talent is not always easy, and sometimes you might need to offer a higher salary to tempt the best candidates. Find out the going rates for HR roles with our latest 2023 HR Salary Guide, which also includes insights on sector trends and hiring strategy to help you attract the top HR talent.

If you would like to learn more about the hiring landscape or have hiring needs, get in touch with the team today: 

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