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Dona-Mirelle Battat

Digby Morgan

Executive Director

Read more about Dona-Mirelle Battat

Is the HR recruitment market starting to recover?


The overall HR recruitment market has seen a marked improvement recently, with a cautious but steady rise in new vacancies.

Here we look at individual sectors in more depth:

Financial services
There have been a few significant HR moves at the senior executive level recently and we expect that to impact hiring as new HRDs restructure their teams. It has resulted in some activity in relation to senior HR business partners, reward and talent management/development.

Retention policies are working well in most organisations with the best candidates well looked after. As they’re the candidates in demand, there’s a dearth of top talent in the market. More widely, we currently notice a heightened level of dissatisfaction which is likely to impact on attrition when activity picks up.

Commerce & industry
The manufacturing and engineering, tobacco, outsourcing, technology/telecoms and energy sectors are showing promising signs. There’s renewed demand for reward and organisational development expertise.

Strategic business partners are also sought after, but relevant industry expertise is often a prerequisite to a successful hire. Most opportunities are at £70-£100k level.

The £120k+ market remains challenging. Client expectations are high – especially if they’ve previously employed an interim with in-depth expertise. The interview process can lack pace as employers deliberate on their changing needs, responding to ongoing economic pressures and market challenges.

Public sector
The public sector is now seeking a specific profile of individual – to fill increasingly commercial roles. Many organisations are restructuring. They require HR professionals with the skills to deliver cultural change and tangible results.
It’s still a candidate-rich market – except at the top where there’s a small pool of in-demand and talented top tier specialist HR interim professionals.

Activity is more pronounced at the junior to mid-level (£40k) and in clients hiring interims on short term one to three month fixed term contracts. Much of this is driven by the ‘try before you buy’ mentality before appointing permanently. Some contracts are being extended beyond the initial term – good news for the best interims.

Why is there a shortage of top HR talent?
Many individuals are choosing to focus on their current role as there are relatively few attractive opportunities around. If candidates move, they’ll have high expectations.

HR is also maturing. Companies want more than just text-book advice from HR – candidates who understand how businesses operate and can be more strategic about their support are the ones in greatest demand. 

Unfortunately the Ulrich model doesn’t necessarily offer the development opportunities for HR generalists to move from shared service centres into client-facing relationship roles. This is a longer-term challenge for HR. 

How to stand out

It’s imperative that you demonstrate strong relationship development capabilities, you understand what the business does and how HR can help achieve goals. Companies want innovative and adaptable HR practitioners, not those who just demonstrate best practice or an inability to offer flexible solutions.

Dona-Mirelle Battat is executive director of HR recruitment specialists, Digby Morgan.

This article was first published by our partner, online jobs board Changeboard.
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Dona-Mirelle Battat

Executive Director

Read more from Dona-Mirelle Battat

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