2024 is underway and the question I am continually being asked is “what are you seeing across the HR space and what do you think the market will do?”. It is the $64,000 question! Whilst I am not an economist nor do I claim to be, the senior and executive markets that I work with mean I speak to HR Directors, CHROs, CPOs as well as CEOs daily from varying size organisations and across all industries, which paints an interesting picture of what the recruitment strategy is for different businesses and sectors this coming year.
So, here is a brief snapshot of what the talk of is on the ground.
There is cautious confidence in the HR recruitment market
Across the UK and Ireland HR market we have started to see some interesting permanent opportunities arise. The interim market has also started to pick up fairly quickly and notably a number of fixed term contracts have been seen across the mid to senior HR market across all sectors.
We are seeing a cautious but optimistic approach to recruiting at present; key hires and replacements are a certain go ahead, but new hires are being fully defined before searches commence. Previously, we had not seen such scrutiny on a new hire so, although companies are a little cautious to push forward, those who have really thought about what the postholder will be responsible for are confident that the job will be a necessary one for the business and will therefore push ahead.
Payroll is a busy area
I spoke to John O’Brien, Head of our UK payroll recruitment team, to understand what payroll is seeing. It is a positive outlook. He has seen a number of organisations relocate their payroll function from the US to the UK and doesn’t see this slowing down anytime soon. This is, according to John, likely due to the UK time zone being perfectly placed to support all of the EMEA, US and APAC regions.
The role is also expanding. Says John, “We are seeing payroll opportunities become more hybrid in nature and roles are starting to have elements of shared services, reward and systems incorporated into them. We are definitely seeing the role evolving, with clients looking for a lot more experience and are prepared to pay higher salaries for this.”
“The overall payroll market has not slowed down and we are predicting 2024 to continue to be strong in this field. Payroll salaries this year have already started to show a 20% -30% increase in some cases and sectors, however businesses are looking for more experience including international exposure as their payroll functions evolve and they need the skilled team members to take them there. Excitingly, if you are in the payroll discipline right now, the UK seems to be a strong market for experienced payroll professionals.”
Private equity and venture capital funding is stimulating activity
Looking at generalist HR areas, although the UK as a whole had a more cautious 2023, the coming year is already starting to look positive. We have seen private equity and venture capital businesses start to invest, giving those reliant on additional funds the opportunity to drive their people strategy forward. In addition, once a few companies receive funding from the big players, we often see confidence return to the market, spurring on other investment. Let’s hope that this continues.
As a specialist senior and executive recruiter, I regularly get contacted for insights into the past and upcoming 12 months. I’m asked to offer insight into compensation and benefit packages across different sectors and locations and how they can differ, as well as how best to secure talent through an efficient and streamlined recruitment process. It is great to understand what businesses are planning for 2024 and then share that broadly with my network; I see trends in some areas and unexpected boldness in others which is sometimes inspiring and sometimes worrying!
Overall, the consensus for 2024 is that it looks like it will be a steady year, a good feeder into 2025 when many are already predicting more growth, so optimism is out there in the market and businesses aren’t going to stand still this year which is exciting!
Steph leads Frazer Jones’ senior and executive HR hiring across the Thames Valley and Northern Home Counties. As an expert with over 20 years’ experience, she has a vast network and success rate with many returning clients and candidates. If you are interested to connect with Steph to hire into your team or support with your career move, please reach out directly via email@example.com.