A native Corkonian, Lisa relocated from Melbourne to oversee Cpl’s growth and expansion plans in Cork and nationwide. Lisa brought with her a wealth of recruitment experience from across the globe. She has worked with a diverse portfolio of clients across Ireland, the Middle East and most recently Australia. With a strong focus on delivery and a customer centric attitude, she helps businesses to attract and retain the best people.
Human Resources sector assessment
The demand for HR (Human Resources) talent has increased over the past year. Since the middle of 2021, the market has seen huge growth with the number of open positions outstripping the supply of qualified candidates. In-house recruitment vacancies have witnessed a talent shift, which is creating space for job seekers looking to become recruiters. Clients have continued to invest in learning and development and Diversity & Inclusion and Wellbeing, spaces of particular importance over the past year.
Within Strategic HR positions, specifically Senior HR Business Partner, HR Directors and HR Managers, we have seen a growing importance of the overall employee experience. And a will to invest in enhancing business offerings including, improvements in the recruitment processes, employee engagement initiatives, Wellness programmes and Learning & Development, to ensure candidates see companies as an employer of choice. This type of thinking has started to filter down to all levels of the HR function. Employers have recognised the need to people to work from home, with many employers offering this where possible. From the candidate side this is a key deciding factor on which roles to progress with.
Huge efforts have also been made to improve remote onboarding processes to ensure new employees, in junior and senior roles, can integrate effectively into the business and feel of instant value to the organisation. New benefits have arisen within packages including Work from Home allowances, New Starter Packages, Wellness Allowances and improved bonuses. Employers have started to consider the work-life balance of their employees offering rest days/weeks, early finishes, particularly during the summer months, and increased flexible working hours. We have also seen notable examples of organisations offering certain incentives to mark occasions throughout the year. This recognition is of huge value to candidates and more companies are following suit.
What are the underlying forces at work in the HR industry
The initial impact of Covid resulted in fewer vacancies in the HR space as companies across the board, multinationals, and SMEs, paused recruitment and waited to assess its impact on business. The market has significantly improved since early 2021 and now that remote working practices have been shown to run smoothly, employers have more confidence to hire. Remote onboarding process improvements have continued this year including digitised administration and numerous online initiatives. HR is an integral part of this for new employees joining an organisation. With hiring needs increasing across most sectors, including Tech, Professional Services, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Engineering and Services, HR are at the forefront to support the new talent entering the business and to work on retention strategies for existing staff. Salaries too have been an influential factor for movement in the market. During Covid many employers imposed pay freezes but, as the market improves, so too has the demand for improvement on existing packages. We have seen some employers, particularly in the Technology space, proactively provide pay rises and offer unique benefits, such as Wellness Allowances, Work from Home allowances (Work from Home), Early finishes in summer months, "rest" days/weeks in multinationals, increased bonuses (increased retention bonuses for contract roles) and share/RSU's to deter employees from looking elsewhere.
What is attractive about the HR industry for 2022
In 2020, there was certainly a challenge in the junior market. Employers were reluctant to hire junior HR Admins, Recruitment Coordinators and L&D Coordinators who lacked experience. In 2021, we have seen employers being more open to junior profiles and thankfully more openness to graduates, particularly those with past work experience from college and we expect this to continue 2020 also saw a decrease in TA (Talent Acquisition) vacancies but this has significantly changed in 2021. We began to see an improvement towards the end of 2020, with an emergence of short-term contract TA roles to provide for short-term hiring needs in the Tech, Professional Services, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Services and Engineering sectors. But this has evolved with those roles converting to permanent as employers have more confidence in longer term growth plans. Going into 2022, this continues to be the case with Permanent TA. Vacancies are plentiful in the market, offering competitive salaries, making it a very candidate-driven market. Work from home options, particularly clients who offer fully remote roles have certainly widened the talent pool for vacancies. Employers who offer hybrid or remote working models are preferred by HR candidates. Similarly, we have seen more HR candidates interested in part-time opportunities or more flexible working arrangements and employers are showing more and more willingness to adapt to new working arrangements and styles.
What are the key issues facing the HR industry in 2022
Large multinational organisations offering very impressive salaries and packages can often price out small-medium size organisations who will find it difficult to compete. Candidates are looking for more security in their job search. Mid-level candidates are focused on permanent vacancies if they are in mortgages processes or view at least healthcare and pension as an absolute minimum for a new role. This presents great challenges to secure temporary or contract talent for some employers. A healthy balance between onsite working and working from home will be essential to consider going into 2022. Employers who are looking for fully onsite from 2022 onwards will struggle to secure the top talent in the market as that flexibility is of high value for many candidates. On the other side some candidates, junior-mid level, do have a high desire to return to the office or have the option, and to see a presence in that office with a positive work environment.
What critical skills do companies need to develop for success in 2022
As working from home and hybrid working arrangements continue, within HR there will continue to be a need for strong HRIS (Human Resources Information System) experience. Employers have a strong desire for candidates to be able to come in and hit the ground running with good systems and analytical skills. Similarly, within learning and development, experience with an LMS (Learning Management System) will be important or an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and sourcing tools within TA. As salaries and benefits packages continue to improve HR teams will have a high dependence on their compensation & benefits and reward teams to research the market and benchmark their offerings accordingly to remain competitive. Overall, as hiring demands increase across all industries HR will need to continue to invest in improving the overall employee experience they offer to retain and attract talent. HR needs to invest time to understand what motivates their employees and establish a firm PVP (People Value Proposition) in an ever-increasingly competitive market.