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Professional Hiring Index set to be a bumper year for recruitment

Four points higher than six months prior, the research highlights that the labour market has firmly shifted into a post-recessionary cycle, where professionals with marketable skills hold the advantage as candidate demand outweighs supply.

The Index reveals that just 4% of HR executives believe their company will reduce their overall headcount over the period.  Less than one in 10 (8%) believe their company will freeze hiring in the next six months, by not filling vacant positions or creating new ones.  

UK HR directors were asked, “What are your company's hiring plans for permanent professional-level employees in the next six months? Would you say you are&hellip”

H1 2015 (Jan-June)

H2 2014 (July-Dec)

Expanding – adding new positions



Maintaining – only filling vacated positions



Freezing – not filling vacated positions and not creating new ones



Reducing – eliminating positions



Despite calls for ongoing austerity measures, HR directors representing public sector bodies are only marginally less confident than their private sector counterparts about increasing employment levels in the first half of 2015. Of those HR professionals operating in the public sector, 42% expect to increase headcount levels in the next six months.  The most buoyant forecast, however, comes from publicly-listed companies, with nearly six in 10 (57%) executives planning to create new roles in the first half of the year. Employee retention continues to be a major concern for HR professionals as the labour market heats up. Four in five (80%) HR executives are concerned about losing top performers to other job opportunities in the next year and this will see pressure on employers to increase salary and benefits packages in order to retain them. This is likely to drive broader wage inflation through 2015 and beyond.

Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half UK, said, “We are witnessing the typical post-recessionary power shift, with rapidly increasing demand for niche skills and commercial acumen affording candidates a position of strength from which to negotiate.  Firms looking to expand their employee base are likely to drive up wages with the increased competition for the most sought-after professionals. Companies who want to attract skilled employees will need to look once again towards generous remuneration packages. It’s also important to “re-recruit” current staff in a bid to retain them, making sure they are aware of training programmes and opportunities to progress, as well as other factors such as flexible working to facilitate work-life balance.”

The war for talent is set to increase dramatically in the next 12 months due to an ongoing skills shortage in the labour force.  Nine in 10 (91%) HR professionals say it is a challenging environment to identify skilled professional-level employees for their organisation, with a third (32%) stating it is very challenging.

A lack of niche technical experts was cited by 35% of HR directors surveyed as the reason they were struggling to recruit appropriate personnel for their organisation.  Increasing competition between employers was a significant factor, with 30% of respondents stating demand was outstripping supply for candidates.   Systemic problems regarding the development of suitable recruits for the job market are still posing a problem for employers.  Almost a quarter (22%) of HR professionals believe it is challenging to fill positions because candidates still lack the fundamental commercial and business skills required for their organisation. 


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