Change managers, learning and development and OH&S professionals have emerged as the three roles in HR that are most in demand.
The shift in the skills now sought by employers is a result of several factors, including a forecast surge in M&A activity, restructuring and culture change in an improving market.
According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report, organisations will remain focused on retention and recognise the importance of holding on to the best people as the market picks up. Therefore, HR professionals who specialise in organisational development will also be in demand in the first quarter of 2010.
“Firstly, there are many instances of employers opting to recruit now in an attempt to gain competitive advantage and secure the best of the available talent,” said Jacky Carter, director of Hays. “Secondly, many organisations that cut staffing numbers to the bone are going to look for new recruits to be in place pretty quickly in 2010 in order to cope with a ‘back to normal’ workload.”
Carter said that few departing staff in 2009 were replaced and their duties were absorbed by remaining staff members. Now that business confidence is rising, employers are reassessing and re-creating vacancies where required and are repopulating teams.
“Employers realise they risk losing those dedicated employees if they don’t feel recognised, rewarded and, most of all, supported,” she said.
The report also revealed an increase in demand for workforce planners because companies will need to ensure adequate staffing numbers for the year ahead as well as for new projects.
Within the public sector, the report predicts that hotspots in HR will be around project managers and consultants to deal with the levels of change taking place within the public sector.
Also, while occupational health and safety roles were previously focused on trouble-shooting, the report states that organisations have become more stringent and are instead focusing on improving efficiency. “Safety roles focus on prevention rather than cure, with a higher strategic focus. Wellbeing is also becoming a major focus,” the report stated.