SEEK Employment Trends: spotlight on the HR and recruitment industry

It’s almost impossible for companies to build successful teams without the right human resources and recruitment professionals in place, so it’s little surprise that SEEK job ads for this valuable employment sector are experiencing year-on-year growth.

In addition to recruiting the right people, HR professionals must be firmly across industrial relations law, workplace health and safety standards, and remuneration trends. They may be responsible for driving cultural change and motivation, performance management and internal company communication. Their role is increasingly essential, but experts say companies have long overlooked their value.

“HR professionals were once seen as merely support services,” says Brodie McDougall, Regional Director – Western Australia with recruitment firm Michael Page. “Now they are very much viewed as strategic business partners. As more companies understand the value of attracting and retaining the best talent, HR now influences senior executives and provides fresh points of view.”

The human side of business

As modern work practices continue to evolve, the HR role is vital in ensuring workplace cultures adapt. “Flexibility is no longer a buzzword, it’s now viewed as an important business driver and employees want to know that they’re in a company that’s innovative,” adds McDougall. “You need people to drive this and that’s HR.”

In June 2016, the HR and recruitment sector experienced a year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads of 3% and the average advertised salary was $83,732. Candidate availability within the sector has been high relative to the past five years and this has not changed in recent months.

Within the sector, SEEK job ads for occupational health and safety professionals led the way, growing by 22% year-on-year. “Organisations have worked out that if they get this area of the business right, it reduces the cost to their business,” says Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director with recruitment firm Hays. “It also signifies to your employees a sense of diligence and care, and I think that that’s what a lot of employees are looking for.”

David Owens, Managing Director of HR Partners with recruitment firm Randstad, says occupational health and safety roles are in demand across a range of sectors. “A duty of care extends to all organisations in all industries,” he says. “They need to be equipped to deal with safety matters and obviously manage any risk that may be perceived or reported.”

Industrial and employee relations roles also recorded a year-on-year increase within the sector, growing by 20%. Noblet suggests this may be due to recent high profile industrial relations cases in Australia. “The way the wind is blowing in the market at the moment means industrial relations is massive in the country,” he says. “There have been some big stories about disputes in the news and that is promoting companies to ensure they have the resources they need. Industrial relations is a complex environment in Australia, so bringing in expertise within the area is key.”

Training and development was another area of the sector to experience a year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads, rising by 12%. “Companies are investing more in their own capabilities,” says Owens. “Growth in ads signals to me that there is a willingness and a strong interest from organisations in developing the skills of their people. Maybe that’s in pursuit of a higher retention and engagement rate or just a way of investing in their people, which tends to lead to better ROI and results.”

Recruitment records a decline

Not all areas within the HR sectors experienced year-on-year growth in SEEK job ads. Internal recruitment roles saw a decline of 4% compared to the same time last year, while recruitment agency roles were down by 14%.

Also in the recruitment space, management roles declined by 22% year-on-year. Noblet says that this may be due to internal promotions. “There’s also been quite a bit of consolidation over the past few months and a lot of the big recruiters build careers internally,” he says. “That doesn’t mean they‘re not looking for people.”

SEEK job ads for remuneration and benefits roles also experienced a decline in June 2016. Job ads for this area were down by 10% year-on-year. Noblet adds that this may be due to companies focusing more on training and development. “In an environment when huge salary increases are no longer being seen, employers are investing in the people they already have to retain their staff. Salary is, of course, important, but one of the other motivating factors is improving skills.”

Although some areas of the sector experienced a decline in SEEK job ads, the overall year-on-year growth signals the growing value of HR and recruitment professionals. “Businesses are much more committed to having quality people in HR and recruitment roles to partner with them,” says McDougall. “They add significant value and can really drive a business.”

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