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Global HR Outlook Q2 2022

Global HR Outlook

The demand for top talent remains high across regions, countries, and industries this quarter, despite geopolitical friction and looming macro-economic headwinds. The Asia Pacific region is noticeably tight, with outflow of senior regional HR talent due to ongoing strict border controls. We have seen some HR leaders—particularly expatriates—deciding to relocate for family and professional reasons, or just for the ease of doing business. We have also been paying close attention to China’s “Dynamic Zero Covid Policy.” It is too early to say if there will be any longer-term impact from the perspective of locating key regional talent.

Progressive global organizations are building and enhancing holistic talent practices, with talent acquisition functions continuing to carry elevated expectations and heavy workloads. Smarter, tighter, and shorter hiring processes have become a key competitive advantage, connoting a responsive, agile, and talent-friendly culture. Talent management and development (which was quiet relative to other HR specializations during the pandemic) now has a renewed focus, driven by the need to retain existing talent. We are seeing organizations investing in employee experience and culture building strategies, new HR technologies, and remodelling their HR operations functions.

HR transformation, workforce planning, organizational development, and HR change management (whether a carved-out function or a key requirement for HRBPs and CHROs), is another high-demand grouping of HR skills. Total Rewards also remains one of the most difficult areas to recruit for, and a specialization which receives more than its share of company and CHRO retention efforts.

In selecting an employer, candidates are increasingly motivated by the company’s mission, value to society, and level of social responsibility. Around the world, a company culture where employees feel cared for and valued, and united by a strong purpose, is a powerful proposition. Increasingly, HR teams are focused on ensuring that employees can be proud of the organization they work for.

Opinions are more divided when it comes to going “back to the office.” Employees want flexibility, but many employers struggle with this notion, citing that theirs is an “in office culture”. While employers are generally opting for some form of “hybrid” working, there are different versions of what “hybrid” looks like, and extremes at either end. We believe search firms attract a disproportionate number of “in office” roles as they are harder to fill. We also believe that versus other kinds of positions, senior HR roles are the most likely to be tied to an office location full time, given a prevalent view among leadership that HR should be “present” and interacting heavily with people. We find that companies which do not offer flexibility lose out on certain top HR talent as a result. Or they are forced to pay a premium for it, given current market conditions. It will be interesting to see if this evolves when we are no longer in an “employees market,” as talent shortages ease and economic conditions change.


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