According to the Monster Employment Index, the volume of HR posts being advertised online increased by 8% between November and December last year – faster than all other sectors.
Growth in the number of available in-house HR jobs is now outstripping all other sectors, but the recession has seen demand for HR consultancy services drop 20% over the last year.
According to the Monster Employment Index, the volume of HR posts being advertised online increased by 8% between November and December last year, reaching a 10-month high as employers started to rehire ahead of an expected economic recovery.
The Index showed that the HR sector jumped to 71 points from 66 on a baseline of 100, representing the industry’s third consecutive month of growth – although figures are still well below the 175 recorded in April 2008.
Julian Acquari, managing director at Monster UK and Ireland, said that, despite a still struggling economy, UK job prospects were improving as employers slowly began to emerge from a "financial crisis-induced recruitment hibernation".
He added that: "The uptick in HR opportunities also suggests that more organisations are preparing to increase personnel to take advantage of opportunities presenting themselves in the wake of the downturn."
HR consulting suffers
The overall number of online recruitment opportunities, meanwhile, rose by 3% (or four points) in December compared with the previous month. While this represents a year-on-year drop in job postings of 15%, the figure is well below European averages. As a result, Acquari believes that "the UK market is emerging somewhat ahead of its continental counterparts".
Demand beyond the HR function was focused mainly on manufacturing, legal and financial jobs, with Wales seeing the highest rate of increase for the third consecutive quarter. Scotland and London also saw improvement, with Northern Ireland being the only region to report a decline in the number of advertised jobs available.
But the positive news for in-house HR professionals was offset by a report called ‘What is the future for HR consulting?’, which indicated that the HR consulting industry has contracted by a fifth over the last 12 months.
The study undertaken by sourceforconsulting.com showed that people-based consulting has been the hardest hit of all of the consulting sectors, with organisational design and change management areas being most affected. Performance management was still in growth mode, however.
This scenario contrasts with the 2002-2003 downturn, where strategy and IT-related services suffered most. But the poll of HR directors revealed that about 84% had reduced their HR consultancy-related expenditure, with around half cutting spend by more than 20%.
A third had reduced investment by 10% and only 16% of companies said that procurement levels had remained the same. The trend was already resulting in consolidation and partnering in the sector to try to weather the storm, sourceforconsulting.com said.