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Over 100,000 HR jobs at risk as recession looms

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A global consultancy has estimated that over 100,000 jobs in the UK’s HR industry could go as a result of the economic downturn.

VaLUENTis has warned that around 50,000 jobs related to internal HR functions and the rest in the HR supply industry including recruitment, coaching, training and consultancy could be axed. If the figures are correct the cuts will reduce the HR employment pool, currently thought to range from 250,000 to 500,000 plus, significantly.

The findings also suggest that potentially between 20,000 and up to 40,000 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Management members could be at risk.

VaLUENTiS chief executive, Nicholas Higgins commented: “These numbers are somewhat disturbing, should the more pessimistic forecasts turn out to be true. My main concern is that evidence we have gathered along with others suggest that many HR functions are not doing anything materially different since the last recessionary period and thus many of the HR jobs created since, are subject to the number of employees employed rather than any specific professional value contribution. It is a point that we have made before and it is why we regard the ‘modern HR’ as a very qualified success. Time will tell if this is the case. Despite the focus on HR restructuring in all of its guises over the past few years, current HR ratios certainly suggest increased HR support numbers. This implies increased risk unless value contribution can be clearly demonstrated.”

Recently the British Chambers of Commerce warned of serious risk of recession in the UK with findings from its quarterly economic survey suggesting that if trends continue business is just one quarter away from technical recession.

Despite the gloom, Anne Fairweather, head of public policy at the Recruitment Employment Confederation told HR Zone that whilst their members reported a slowdown in the recruitment of permanent jobs across the sectors there was still no negative trends to be alarmed about and of the risk to HR she said: “Whilst there might be a risk to recruitment jobs those that work in HR and do more than that are not as vulnerable, they will be needed to steer change and deal with the day to day people issues.”

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