JOB GROWTH in the HR market remains positive for 2007 with a high demand for certain specialist skills reported in a recent forecast.
Results showed HR professionals will have the strongest job opportunities in the EHS and OHS areas as opportunities span the full range of skill level in the private sector from trainee to department head. Demand for postgraduate qualifications, usually a Masters, is common and a general shortage of available skilled candidates is making the market competitive.
The need for temporary human resources candidates in the public sector will increase over the first quarter of 2007 due to permanent employees taking annual leave, according to the Hays Human Resources Quarterly Forecast.
It found there has been an increase in candidates taking leave without pay, and some are broadening their HR experience by contracting during this time off from their permanent job.
Also in demand within the public sector are HR generalists, particularly candidates with some payroll knowledge.
“Overall, the demand for experienced staff will remain high, as will the shortage of candidates,”said Nicole Isaacs, regional director of Hays Human Resources, which undertook the forecast.
“Unemployment is low and while activity in the recruitment market traditionally peaks in the new year, activity is particularly high, indicating 2007 is going to be a great year for HR professionals seeking to advance their career.”
According to Isaacs, the HR sector remains a key focus for many employers in light of continuing skills shortages.
“With demand for specialists high, the market presents a good opportunity to advance your career based on interest. Many candidates today are saying they want to accept a role based on their interests rather than chasing higher salaries,” she added.
However, candidates who do intend on taking advantage of the skills shortage have been warned not to let their unrealistic expectations blur their view of market worth.
“The majority of candidates maintain realistic expectations when searching for their next role, however there is a small percentage who misinterpret the skills shortage and demand for their skills as an opportunity to receive inflated salaries.”
Furthermore, the forecast also revealed a relaxing of employer requirements. Isaacs pointed out that some companies who had previously been very rigid in their candidate requirements are now far more flexible, causing an increase in mature age candidates employed.
This flexibility in the market is also said to be due to a common increase in the lateral movement of candidates at the beginning of the new year in addition to the continued influx of overseas staff.
In light of the forecast, Isaacs recommended that employers act quickly when it comes to making offers to candidates and do all they can to stand apart as an employer of choice. Timing has therefore become a factor.
“We have seen a definite change in the timing of recruitment offers, with employers beginning to make offers to candidates in a far more timely fashion than in previous quarters, since many have missed out on a candidate by waiting several days after the second interview to make an offer.”
Other areas of strong demand reported were resources and mining as well as accountancy and finance skills.