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HR update: A clearly defined purpose is key to attracting top talent

HR update: A clearly defined purpose is key to attracting top talent

Q: What HR roles do Scottish employers need right now?

A: Managing organisational change, particularly the people management aspects of change, is a core concern for any senior management team at present. So, if you’re an HR professional with project experience involving change, mergers and acquisitions, your skillset will be very attractive to employers right now. 

On the flip side of this, we’re seeing a huge spike in demand for Learning and Development professionals. Previously, during tighter economic times, L&D professionals were among the first to be made redundant as part of the cost-cutting exercise. Nowadays, companies are realising the importance of investing in their people long-term, and having a permanent in-house resource dedicated to multi-skilling and maximising the potential of their workforce has become a top priority.

Q: What are the big trends you’re seeing going into Q4 of 2018?

A: The biggest shift we’ve seen is the number of candidates changing their attitudes towards contract work. There’s a huge amount of uncertainty for Scottish businesses at present, especially with Brexit right around the corner, so candidates are just as interested in six month fixed term contract roles as they are permanent roles (with the added incentive that contract roles offer greater flexibility). 

Going forward, we expect the entry-level and junior market to remain competitive, and the mid-market to stay steady. But, at a more senior level, we anticipate it will become an employer led market, as a large number of senior-level candidates who have been in their roles for several years now are ready for their next move. Due to a lack of senior/executive movement up until now, the market needs a few people to move to create a domino effect in order for more opportunities to follow.

Q: What are your predictions for the remainder of the year?

A: Let’s face it, GDPR and SMCR are not going to disappear anytime soon. And, with continued regulatory pressure on HR operations, as well as Gender Pay Gap Reporting, there is and will be an on-going need for project focused HR professionals.

We also predict an increased pressure for HR teams to embrace a greater range of technological solutions, such as employee engagement analytics tools. 

Q: What HR skills are Scottish employers struggling to attract and why?

A: Like many other parts of the country, it’s the niche skillsets that are the problem areas. Employee relations case managers are still in high demand, as are reward, compensation and benefits specialists. Just to make this problem even more difficult, professionals with expertise in these areas are tired of being pigeon-holed into their specific functions and are wanting to broaden their experience.

Q: So, what should employers be doing to help themselves in today’s competitive market?

A: Purpose is a trending topic amongst the HR community right now. Organisation with a clearly defined purpose who can answer the question ‘Why do we do what we do?’ have a significantly better chance at attracting top talent. Stronger employee engagement and retention levels, increased productivity and greater business performance are just some of the many reasons why HR professionals need to take purpose seriously. 

On a more practical level, it’s worth being flexible in your approach and thinking about what you really need your new hire to achieve. For example, could the right person be part-time? And would job sharing be an appropriate option?

You’d be surprised by how many employers are hesitant at looking into different talent pools, such as returning parents. There’s still a huge stigma around the returning parents from an employer’s perspective, with a misjudged belief that they’ve been out of the game for too long and will need retraining, when in reality, you can get them back up to speed relatively quickly. 

And one of the biggest pitfalls for hiring managers is timing. Of course you want to be confident that you’re making the right decision, but that doesn’t mean the hiring process should go on for weeks! This is one of the biggest gripes we get from candidates. If you want to understand the type of person who is best suited to the role and your team/organisation, we would always recommend using an assessment tool as part of the process. 

Q: What innovations are changing the hiring process?

A: Video is proving to be a hugely successful alternative to traditional job advertising methods. In another part of our business we’ve made video a central part of the hiring process. Using our innovative platform, recruiters or hiring managers can upload video job descriptions to our site, which generates 40% more applications than traditional advertising processes. 

AI technology is also opening up the door to fresh opportunities. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 35% of talent professionals and hiring managers say AI is the top trend impacting how they hire. But despite the chatter, very few organisations and professionals understand the impact AI is having on the jobs market and the opportunities it can bring about.

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