UK HR directors are experiencing a talent squeeze, research finds
HR Directors risk being so consumed with issues of talent retention and hiring that they are unable to plan effectively and build a long term strategy for their business, new research by The Curve Group has found.
This ties in with the ONS statistics released yesterday that UK unemployment fell by 37,000 to 1.6 million in the three months to September, hitting an 11-year low.
The Curve Group spoke to 50 leading UK HR directors about their primary focuses for their roles, and to find out the greatest challenges in the early weeks of their new positions. In the anonymous survey, 92% of HR directors say re-designing their organisation in response to digital disruption, new entrants and a flat economy is their no. 1 priority, but only 44% feel able to do so.
The Curve Group foudn that this was because 48% don’t have access to the talent in their organisation to make the required changes and 50% were bogged-down with managing more administrative and non-strategic tasks such as recruitment and short term pressures in the business. After they had spent some time in the roles, two in five HR directors agreed that managing talent acquisition and ensuring staff retention remains in their top daily priorities. Nearly half of the survey – 44% - said this was not the ideal balance of their time, and that they felt more time should be given to long term strategy, making their marks in the business, and innovating.
The Curve Group has stated that its research makes it clear that HR departments and businesses around the UK are feeling pressured when it comes to talent recruitment and staff retention. Previous research has found that 36% of employers are unable to filled skilled positions, which means that talented staff are in high demand, even if those people are currently in roles. This is putting a lot of pressure on the time and focus of HR directors when they are in the office, both when looking for replacement staff for vacated positons, and in seeking to look after skilled employees to stop attrition.
As a result, HR departments around the country are beginning to respond, the Curve Group said. Its research found that 81% of businesses were either keeping HR budgets the same in 2017, or increasing them. At the same time, over half (55%) already outsource functions in HR and a further 25% said they would be outsourcing more functions in the next 12 months.
Lyndsey Simpson, co-owner of The Curve Group, said, “A HR Director that is consumed by the day-to-day loses track of the long term value HR can be adding to a business. We have a shrinking, aging population, record low birth rates and by 2020, a shortage of 40m university educated workers across the western economy. The fight to find skilled talent is only going to worsen in the coming years. For our HR Directors, improving the company culture and being a source of strategic direction to the organisation should be a priority. Freeing HR Directors from the day-to-day will allow them to focus on innovating their company before it’s too late.
“Happily, it looks like forward thinking businesses are realising this, and seeking to unburden their HR departments of talent acquisition and retention issues by increasing their outsourcing budgets for the year ahead. We know from experience that just outsourcing the Recruitment function alone can reduce costs by over 25%, freeing up much needed capital to invest in more strategic HR activities to improve the company’s employee value proposition (EVP). It seems that smart businesses around the UK are realising the benefits of outsourcing these functions to skilled providers, and are set to reap the rewards of having a focused HR Director looking at longer term company strategy and innovation.”
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