HR Market in Australia: evolution, trends, and insights into 2023.

As the HR recruitment market in Australia continues to showcase its dynamic nature, it becomes imperative to delve into the evolving landscape and gain a deeper understanding of the trends and fluctuations that have characterised the past year. To shed light on this subject, we had the privilege of speaking with David Owens, Director of HR Partners, who shared invaluable insights from the recent HR Salary Survey reports.

How has the demand for HR professionals across Australia evolved over the past year? Are there any notable trends or fluctuations that stand out? 

The HR recruitment market is tremendously dynamic. It moves from feast to famine very quickly. Twelve months ago the HR recruitment market all across Australia was super strong, rapid movement of HR professionals combined with relatively short supply created a very fast, buoyant market. The market we see today is much more considered. HR professionals appear much more cautious in their desire to change roles, there is however, a continuing shortage of skilled HR professionals.  

Across Australia, there has been an increasing emphasis on organisations seeking HR specialists. How has the demand for HR generalists evolved and what factors contribute to this trend? 

Demand for Specialists appears to be at least on par with the demand for Generalists. Whether this remains the same into the rest of the year is uncertain Given the evolving demands on HR Professionals, particularly in relation to data analytics, there is a possibility of reallocating headcount away from Generalist roles towards a more finely targeted approach. 

The reports also highlight an increasing demand for specialist roles such as L&D, OD, Remuneration and HR analytics. What factors do you believe are driving this demand? 

This demand comes from specific and targeted responses to what businesses are asking from their HR teams. For example, as organisations transform into the next phase and look carefully at retention and succession planning, it is not a surprise investment in Learning & Development initiatives  / headcount should take place. 

Considering the economic pressures and rising cost of living, what are some effective strategies or components of a compelling Employee Value Proposition that organisations can offer to attract and retain top HR talent beyond monetary compensation? 

There are two main drivers of engagement for HR professionals. The first being the quality of the learning environment. Are their skills going to develop? Are they in a role that enhances their longer term career aspirations? And secondly, how HR is able to engage and relate to the business and the people within the business is of critical importance. If the HR professional can see that their work is making a difference and what they do is appreciated, the opportunity to extend their tenure within the organisation is greatly enhanced. Finally, don’t forget the value of non-cash benefits, EG study support, time away for study, loyalty leave. 

What do you anticipate for the remainder of 2023? 

The economy and employment prospects for HR professionals are deeply intertwined, influenced by several key factors. Currently, we find ourselves in a period of considerable uncertainty, grappling with fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, and the cost of living. Undeniably, these factors have a direct impact on the willingness of HR professionals to explore new job opportunities. While some may find it inevitable to make a move, it is important to note that the market is not devoid of possibilities for them. Looking ahead, we anticipate a gradual improvement in the demand side of the equation over the next 12 months, as the pressures of inflation subside. It is reasonable to expect that we have moved past the phase of rapid interest rate rises, entering a period of consolidation instead. As businesses undergo transformation, pragmatic decisions are being made regarding their future shape. The need for talent, the growth of businesses, ongoing debates surrounding flexible work, and the changes occurring within Australia's industrial relations framework ensure a plethora of HR opportunities. HR professionals will continue to play a critical role in mapping and managing the next phase of this journey. 

about the author

david owens - managing director

David is the founder of the HR Partners brand and draws upon 25 years of recruitment industry experience across Australia and the UK. He plays a pivotal role in overseeing and supporting senior search assignments. His extensive experience and deep understanding of the industry enable him to navigate the complexities of executive-level recruitment with precision and finesse.

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