There is certainly more optimism in the current HR recruitment market than there was a year ago, however the market is yet to show any real signs of consistent growth. The data indicates growth numbers in job count and candidates out at interview in the first half of 2014 but protracted recruitment processes and a particularly strong interim market has added to the complexity of permanent headcount growing.
The main difference in the current market is that companies are starting to react to movement as they anticipate a spike in candidate mobility. Job offer buy back is on the increase and candidates are being tempted away by increased salaries on both sides of the hiring process, thus driving up salary expectations.
Generally speaking, there has been an increase in headcount, however only in key areas, for example, senior leadership roles or specialist areas such as reward, C&B and talent. There has mostly been a positive outlook relating to increasing effectiveness and being more mindful regarding replacements. Replacements are being used as an opportunity to tweak the relevant team.

Human resources – what are people talking about?

Currently, the hot topic of conversation is around benefits and rewards. There is also much talk of engagement and retention, particularly how to retain and engage key staff and top performers. This will affect hiring and retention because if there is no incentive for staff around benefits and rewards, they will not remain engaged and committed to the company. Another topic which has proven popular relates to future leaders, particularly who they are and where they are coming from. There is a lot of focus on high achieving graduates who have the potential to become future leaders.

Top five most sought after skills/job types

The top five skills/job types that are being highly regarded by clients include:
  • Reward
  • C&B
  • Management and leadership development
  • Recruitment and shared services
  • Talent and reward
There is also focus around the three job families linked to the employee life cycle, namely attracting and retaining high quality talent and ensuring they are appropriately benchmarked. This is particularly relevant in the current marketplace as the demand for talent is starting to grow and the pool of available candidates remains more or less consistent, both in size and quality. There is also an increasing need to ensure that the relevant levels of support exist within an organisation, both in terms of skills and development as well as day to day support.

A candidate driven market

Currently, the market is predominantly candidate driven. There has been an increasingly reduced response to advertising and businesses are finding that they have to go the extra mile to find the talent they need. Employers still want the best candidates but salaries haven’t necessarily increased to meet candidate demands.

Top three tips for candidates

  • When in your role, always seek to utilise your skills, knowledge and experience and take on greater responsibility. Make sure you maintain knowledge of current legislation and changes within the HR marketplace.
  • It’s vital to build your professional network and strengthen relationships. Actively work on your own personal network and always seek to enable your own mid to long term career moves and succession plans. LinkedIn is a tool we all use but CIPD networking events, as well as those run by recruitment firms, can be a useful opportunity to network.
  • Focus on your presentation skills. Not only is this relevant at an interview where presentation can often be a candidate’s downfall, but increasingly HR professionals are required to present to relevant leadership teams on a range of topics from HRMI to retention. Take the opportunity to lead on projects and report your findings to hone in on your presentation skills in front of others.
For more information on the current HR recruitment market or to discuss your HR recruitment needs, contact Amanda Salaam, operating director at Michael Page Human Resources.
T: 01932 264049