The 3 HR roles that companies will want and need in 2020

By Robert Half 16 September 2019

A report by Deloitte Access Economics predicts that between now and 2021, demand for HR roles will increase by 2.3% annually – equivalent to an additional 27,000 HR professionals being hired each year.

This rise in demand reflects the need for many companies to have a pro-active approach to attracting, retaining and motivating quality people. However the challenge for employers is that in Australia’s tight labour market, there is intense competition for high calibre HR talent.

Furthermore, research by Robert Half found 78% of Australian employers expect it to be more challenging to source qualified professionals over the next five years. And without the benefit of a skilled HR team, businesses can find themselves struggling to build an effective workforce.

What’s driving demand for HR roles?

There are a number of factors at work driving demand for HR professionals.

According to the aforementioned Deloitte study, the increased pace of workforce change is a major issue. The report found that over the next 10 to 15 years, around 40% of Australian jobs have a “high probability” of being automated.

In this environment, HR expertise is essential to navigate a smooth transition between the addition of new roles and the decline of established roles. Moreover, HR will be needed to minimise the risks and costs associated with redundancies.

In addition, the Australian business landscape is experiencing a heightened focus on corporate and social responsibility. HR professionals play a critical role upholding ethical business practices and ensuring that employees are committed to an organisation’s ethical framework.

HR professionals can also have a valuable impact in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. The Diversity Council of Australia found employees in inclusive teams are 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job, and are considerably more engaged and productive than workers in non-inclusive workplaces.

The three in-demand HR roles for 2020

Looking ahead, three HR roles are set to dominate recruitment in 2020. It’s worth understanding what is involved in each role, and what to look for when hiring skilled HR professionals.

1. Human Resources Managers

HR Managers are responsible for all the functions that cover an organisation’s employees.

Depending on the size of the company, the HR Manager may be involved in developing employment policies and procedures, recruiting and arranging training for new staff, and overseeing salaries and benefits. The HR Manager may also be involved in performance management policies, and creating training and development programs.

In larger organisations, the HR Manager’s role can extend to designing strategies for team building and employee engagement.

With such a broad variety of responsibilities, HR Managers are typically expected to have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Human Resources or Business, plus several years of experience within a HR team. The role also demands staying up to date with changing workforce requirements including industry awards and pay rates, as well as workplace trends around non-monetary benefits.

Essential soft skills for HR Managers include excellent communication skills, a collaborative approach and strong negotiation skills.

2. Business Partners

HR Business Partners work closely with an organisation’s leaders, developing a human resources strategy that aligns to the goals of the company.

In some cases, the HR Business Partner may be represented on the company board. This can encourage greater collaboration between HR and other departments such as finance, IT, sales and marketing to deliver more holistic outcomes.

HR Business Partners are typically highly experienced HR managers, possibly with a relevant Master’s degree. A deep understanding of the business is required coupled with a genuine commitment to delivering HR solutions that are effective for the both the organisation and its people.

3. Talent Acquisition Specialists

As the name suggests, Talent Acquisition Specialists play a critical role in the recruitment process. They are tasked with developing and managing hiring plans, screening candidates and devising incentives that encourage employees to be ambassadors for the organisation.

Talent Acquisition Specialists need all the skills of a HR Manager coupled with awareness of the most effective means of recruiting top talent, including designing and posting job advertisements, conducting interviews, and understanding how different psychometric and aptitude tests can be useful in the hiring process.

Hiring in the HR space

Building a strong workforce calls for expertise. This highlights the need for companies to have a well-rounded HR team, made up of skilled professionals capable of managing every aspect of a company’s workforce amid ongoing technological, regulatory and social change. Given the hot demand expected for HR talent in 2020, now is the time to start putting that team together.

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