​As HR leaders begin to think forward to 2014, we feel it is timely to share five growing global trends in Talent that we see as being particularly meaningful to HR decision-makers as they begin to develop their strategic plans for next year.

1. The Rise of the Blended HR Resume

We are seeing a growing demand in all regions for talent with a blend of HR Generalist and Specialist experience. For Generalist roles, some previous Specialist experience is seen as a key differentiator and a real plus. For HR Specialists, talent with some prior HR Generalist experience is often viewed as being more commercial/closer to the business; and more capable of handling specific HR challenges than counterparts who have not specialized. This is a growing sentiment among some of our most senior HR clients in leading multinationals. We expect this view to become increasingly prevalent in 2014.

2. The Continued Decline of the Expat Package

As geographies that were previously categorized as ’emerging’ (e.g. Singapore, Hong Kong) mature, they are no longer seen as ‘hardship’ destinations for foreigners. Indeed, Singapore, for example, has moved rapidly from ‘backwater’ status to one of the most attractive places on the planet to live and work. As a result, with plenty of foreign and local talent willing and able to work on competitive local terms, companies are generally less open to paying a premium for imported talent when more cost effective local and foreign options are available. For this reason, we are seeing expat packages decline in favor of local or ‘local plus’ remuneration schemes in a number of key growth markets globally.

Accelerating this development is the issue of rapid salary inflation for top HR talent in critical regional centers such as Brazil; China and Hong Kong; Singapore and South Africa. As a result of this salary inflation, we are seeing a ‘flattening out’ of salaries across mature and maturing geographies that is increasingly leading hiring decision makers to conclude that they should ‘go to where the talent is’. For example, costs are now pretty much on a par for top HR talent in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and London.

3. Talent Disciplines – More Sophistication and Differentiation

Another important trend we are seeing is the individual Talent disciplines (e.g. Organizational Development, Talent Management, Talent Development, Learning, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning), becoming more differentiated and sophisticated areas of specialization under the broader Talent umbrella. At a very senior level, we are also seeing more instances of multinationals employing a Head of Talent or Chief Talent Officer who would generally report to the CHRO and provide leadership and focus on Talent within the organization.

4. United States Talent Bounces Back

As The United States continues to make economic progress, we are seeing rapid development of American global HR talent – inside and outside of the country. Post-recession, there is a clearer and deeper understanding of the difference between living and working internationally versus holding a U.S. based global role and leading on a ‘fly in fly out’ basis. Indeed the area of ‘International’, once seen as being ‘on the fringe’ is now the hottest place to be for ambitious HR professionals. Today, on-the-ground experience in large emerging and growth markets is becoming a ‘must have’ for those looking to move into a CHRO role.

We are also noting that due to rising costs elsewhere, the decline of the expat package and a new post-recession sense of reality within the United States, top HR talent from the U.S. is no longer viewed as expensive versus other nationalities. Due in part to the above factors, we are seeing internationally experienced U.S. HR talent becoming highly desirable on a global basis and we are also seeing a rapid evolution of international HR within the U.S. – a very promising sign for the future.

5. Flexible Work Location Issue Polarizes HR Leaders

For a large number of the positions that we recruit, we are seeing an increase in employers who are very flexible on where the position can be based and the amount of time the employee can spend working remotely. Conversely, we are also seeing the polar opposite, where companies feel strongly that they are ‘just not ready’ for roles to be located anywhere but in the HQ (or a major designated office location). It is interesting to note that we are seeing many instances of this being a polarizing issue among employers. We also note that work location flexibility is becoming a key decision making criteria for top HR talent in both emerging and mature markets.

As 2014 approaches, we anticipate that the five trends above will be high on HR leadership agendas on a global basis.