How Secure Are Your Colleagues Feeling?
As the economic recovery falters and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticks up to 8.1% – a level not seen since January 1996 – the prospect of HR redundancies returns to the horizon line.
The ever growing number of “necessity interims” in the HR community, those marking time between permanent assignments, is self-evident. Recent reductions in the public sector add to the present gloom of the HR recruitment market. Worse still, this trend seems to be intensifying as the Civil Service declares its intention to reduce the overall HR to Employee Ratio from a generous 1:50 to a dramatic 1:100 and all by 2013, as part of the coalition’s aim to reduce the overall Civil Service budget by 25% by 2015.This lead has been embraced by Local Authorities, who are rushing headlong into combined Authorities shared service centres as their central government grants have been slashed and their ability to raise revenue through Local Council taxation has been frozen.
Rising above the general downbeat picture of the HR recruitment market our survey of advertised vacancies confirms our belief that the demand for Reward specialists is undiminished, accounting for 34% of specialist HR roles, far exceeding opportunities available to the other mainstream specialisms of talent, resourcing, employee relations, OD, HRIS or learning and development.
Approximately 70% of advertised roles are for permanent roles and 30% for Interim or Temporary positions. Whilst salaries would appear to be holding up for permanent roles there has been pressure on interim daily rates, with reward interims reporting, almost universally, that they are being squeezed on day rate. This pressure is causing even highly experienced reward interims to perceive wrongly that they are operating in a labour market which is supply side rich and are opting for the seemingly safe haven of fixed-term employment or long-term low day rate contracts. In the final analysis, perceptions matter. It follows that as long as reward practitioners perceive insecurity in the external labour market, they will sit tight and interims will trade down. However, when appreciation of the facts overcomes the current sense of insecurity, reward practitioners will find a long queue of potential employees waiting to sign them up.
*Source – Aggregate analysis of Changeboard, Monster.com, Total Jobs, Personnel Today and People Management advertised vacancies