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HR jobs: UK market overview with Katie Chamberlain and Lucy Horne

HR jobs: UK market overview with Katie Chamberlain and Lucy Horne

'Planning for the future: ‘accelerating recovery and building back better’

In the first of our new series focusing on the latest market trends across our specialisms in the UK, our two principal consultants, Katie Chamberlain and Lucy Horne discuss the shape of the permanent and contract/interim HR recruitment markets.

“Recent OECD figures for the UK show that the economy was the fastest growing among developed nations during Q2 2021. This is particularly interesting as we also found that the rebound for HR recruitment started a bit sooner in February 2021. Clearly, businesses anticipated future growth and began hiring HR professionals again. The focus is on accelerating recovery and building back better – it’s all about future strategy!

“The market is candidate-driven and the increase has been mainly for generalist HR perm and fixed term contracts roles with the demand for HR generalists outweighing more niche HR specialist roles. Internal recruiter and TA roles have risen, as has the demand for HR business partners who can align their people and business strategies. Organisations are looking for transformational leadership!

“In terms of key skills that employers are looking for, qualifications such as those offered by the CIPD are always highly sought after but we’ve also seen a rise in the demand for coaching qualifications. Building high performance cultures and developing L&D capability is a big area as is data analysis and ROI metrics reporting. As you’d expect, HR professionals must be able to build strong relationships and adapt. Personality and cultural fit are also vital.   

Attracting top talent

“Organisations and hiring managers for their part must ensure that their recruitment processes and quick and efficient. Delays in interviews and offers can mean losing top talent. In some cases candidates are juggling multiple offers, so they will often accept the first one that comes along. The other big area is employer branding, so companies must make sure that candidates have a positive experience and even those who aren’t successful can become brand ambassadors – as we know, negative publicity can spread quickly on social media and damage a brand.

“Although monetary benefits are important, work-life balance is vital so employers must carefully think about flexible working to allow for a hybrid model of working. Workers don’t want to be forced to be in the office all the time, work-life balance is a big priority. Many HR candidates are also keen to work for companies that are making an impact on society, which is why joining charities, life sciences or renewable energy companies is so appealing. Personal growth opportunities are also huge, so training and development, time off for volunteering etc. are other important factors.

“We say it all the time yet it’s amazing how often applicants send generic CVs. Our advice here is if you want to make your experience shine, tailor your CV and do your research. But also make sure you check for spelling etc. as some of the mistakes we come across are shocking. Adopt a targeted approach, so only apply if you really want the job and don’t blanket send your CV. The other thing I would say is to be open in terms of salary, industry and company – you can always be adding a new string to your bow!”

Get in touch with Lucy & Katie!

If you’re looking for your next HR generalist or specialist in London, the home counties or any region across the UK, you can contact Katie at for perm HR roles or Lucy at for contract and interim HR jobs.

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