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HR leaders predict significant headcount growth over next 12 months

PageGroup’s Global Insights HR Barometer surveyed over 2,500 HR leaders from organisations ranging from SMEs to blue-chip brands in a cross section of industries, gathering key information on recruitment plans, strategic initiatives and key priorities.  

Rob Archer, Regional Director at Michael Page Human Resources, said: “There are clear signs that HR is becoming the forefront of business growth and transformation. From being regarded mainly as an administrative function, HR is now becoming a strategic partner, aligned more closely with the business and focused on recruiting, developing and managing the talent on which organisational success depends.”

Key findings include:

• Nearly half (48%) of HR leaders expect their workforce to expand over the next 12 months

• Almost two thirds (63%) of senior HR leaders directly report to the highest levels of management (CEO, CFO, etc.). 

• The UK & Ireland are leading the global demand for talent

• 80% of HR senior leaders have strategically significant responsibilities

• HR leaders report the top three business priorities are talent management (33%), training and development (33%) and talent acquisition/recruitment (32%), whilst only 4% are focused on diversity and inclusion

A mixed picture on recruitment plans

Nearly half of the organisations in the survey expect to increase their workforce within the next 12 months, which suggests recruitment will become a pressing HR concern when the global economy picks up again, particularly in the technology sector. 

“Strong hiring and recruitment expectations in many locations signal a new phase of economic growth and rebuild. However, the exponential growth and evolution in technology, means that the HR industry will be at the frontline of a talent war that is set to spread to other sectors,” says Mr Archer. 

The survey also brings to light regional differences: for example, only 47% of HR managers in Continental Europe expect to see an increase in staffing levels over the next 12 months, as opposed to 75% in the Middle East. Similarly, looking at industry variants, HR managers in technology companies predict intense recruitment activity over the next 12 months, expecting their workforce to increase by 13%. 

Yet, in contrast to the expected change in total workforce size, most organisations (70%) do not expect to change HR staffing levels within the next 12 months. 

Mr Archer explains: “This crucial finding raises questions on whether HR professionals are ready to help their employers handle a growing workforce. Will HR be able to cope with the pace of growth required by the business? This is a key challenge for the foreseeable future.”

The full report, Putting People First – How HR is at the Forefront of Business Growth and Transformation, is available here. 

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