Talent Scarcity or Growing Importance? HR Pros are in High Demand

HR job posts had climbed up to approximately 87%, according to Indeed. Is the rise in demand for human resource professionals an indication of scarcity in talent or have companies discovered their importance amid an ongoing pandemic? 

People managers, such as HR and global mobility professionals have undoubtedly felt the disruptions of the pandemic. It’s no surprise why many companies have highlighted the value of HR professionals. 

According to Equilar’s HR Executive Pay Trends 2021, a steady rise in HR executive compensation is observable. Perhaps, the evidence of HR performing work that falls outside their job descriptions contributes to this rise in compensation value. 

Similarly, HR Dive discovered in its 2021 Identity of HR Survey that 419 self-identified HR professionals — 75 percent of the respondents — mentioned they performed tasks outside their respective departments. 

Ann Feyerherm, a professor of organizational theory and management at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School, states that one factor that contributes to the numbers is that HR departments have become more involved in company strategy than ever before. SHRM agrees with Feyerherm’s sentiments, highlighting that the pandemic has not only expanded the corporate influence of HR but also led to a renewed focus on employees

The numbers are sufficient to claim that because people have been the most affected in the pandemic, talent managers have become the go-to experts in these circumstances. Mike Webb, executive VP, chief HR, and administrative officer of Canadian-based fertilizer company Nutrien, says, “The HR organization really was the hub for everything that is related to the pandemic.” He further praises the HR department by focusing on its role as a valuable “connector” in his company.

To add to the benefits that HR professionals experienced in an unprecedented crisis, People Management observes a reputation boost of the profession. 

There have been numerous stories of how HR significantly contributed to the success of achieving business resilience in a health crisis — Peter Jenkins, the general manager for International SOS (Northern Europe) attests to this. 

One important decision he made for the company was to designate HR to lead its business continuity team. Jenkins expressed that he was aware that he could have medical advisors in charge but found that this was more of a people-centered strategy than a medical one which resulted in his newfound admiration for the profession. The team was able to formulate new policies, communicated with employees working on-site and from home, and began to prepare in anticipation of returning to the office.

At the onset of the pandemic, many business leaders were quick to turn to talent managers as strategic advisors. The silver lining to an ongoing pandemic has been a shift in perspective and renewed value for people organizers such as HR and global mobility professionals. They were pushed to derive insights and make well-informed recommendations to business executives on how to go about a health crisis. HR is finally seen in a new light.

Changes in the HR sector

According to Sage, a multinational software company, there’s a sea of change in the HR sector. Its research discovered that HR and people leaders are shifting to focus on employee experience, a crucial demand of 92% of employees in the study. 

VP reiterates these results saying, “Forget engagement—it’s all about experiences. For too long companies have focused on engagement. Yet it is not the cause, but the effect. About 92% of employees told us a great workforce experience was the single biggest driver for productivity.” 

The software company discovered these powerful drivers of change in the sector from its respondents:

  • Digital technology (79%)
  • Rise of the gig economy (75%)
  • War for talent (74%)
  • Employee experiences (62%)
  • Competitive advantage (61%)
  • Operational excellence (59%)

Furthermore, Sage elaborates on some key findings in its research. HR operations are evolving into much more flexible and data-driven processes. In the area of talent acquisition, technology is one of the disruptors in contributing to better employee experience. A seamless candidate journey should be centered on crafting better talent acquisition strategies. Some companies opted to go for automation to improve their talent acquisition — 24% of companies started utilizing it.

Another important change is the performance and rewards aspect of talent management. Though many companies already have traditional methods to manage this aspect, they only do it to some extent. Many companies are now opting to continuously gather feedback from their teams’ performances. Moreover, rewards aren’t as standard as they used to be. They’re carefully crafted with the employee in mind where wellbeing is a trend often looked into nowadays.

In conclusion, the business world is an ever-changing one and that includes HR departments. Either businesses opt to stay stagnant or anticipate the uncertainties of the business sector. There’s always risk involved, but managing risks is what makes many businesses exist, survive, and thrive.