Is HR the next expendable?

Research shows the majority of HR leaders fear their skills will be deemed redundant in the future – but they’re fighting back.

Many HR professionals will have grown accustomed to hearing criticism from other business functions but it seems even those in our own industry are uncertain about the value current HR skills will hold in the future.

In a recent survey by Hays, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of HR professionals admitted they are concerned their skills will not be needed by employers in the future.

Encouragingly, it seems HR isn’t taking the fight lying down – 53 per cent said they were already taking steps to ensure they gain relevant and in demand skills.

Hays’ HRD Barneey Ely identified the largest capability gaps as “commercial awareness, understanding of compliance and legislative framework, and communication – particularly at entry and intermediate level”.

“The gap between employer and employee perception of the required analytical skills and IT and systems understanding was also fairly significant,” he added. “There really needs to be a focus on reducing the capability gaps by ensuring people are developing the right skill sets.”

Ely suggested receiving regular feedback from employers would help HR professionals understand their proficiency levels and develop relevant skills that will enable them to overcome some of these gaps.

Speaking at an annual HR event in the UK, professor of psychology Adrian Furnham said many HR professionals will have to significantly improve their grasp of technology and systems if they want to remain a crucial contributor.

“If you’re not familiar with technology you are missing out on something very important,” he warned.

“Because of technology, in the future there will be fewer people and more systems,” he added. “I think a lot of HR professionals are not particularly technology based.”

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