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HR professionals' skills becoming obsolete

Research by Hays suggests HR professionals have capability gaps

More than two-thirds (67%) of HR professionals are concerned that their skills will not be needed by employers in the future, according to recruitment expert Hays.

The Human Resources Skills Capability Gap 2015 report found that more than half (53%) of the respondents were taking steps to ensure their skills remain in demand, while 14% are yet to turn their concern into action.

Barney Ely, director at Hays Human Resources, said the largest capability gaps are “commercial awareness, understanding of compliance and legislative framework, and communication – particularly at entry and intermediate level”.

“The gap between employer and employee perception of the required analytical skills and IT and systems understanding was also fairly significant,” he said. “There really needs to be a focus on reducing the capability gaps by ensuring people are developing the right skill sets. Receiving regular feedback from employers will help [HR professionals] to understand their proficiency levels and to develop relevant skills that will enable them to overcome some of these capability gaps.”

Almost eight in 10 (78%) UK employers and 79% of HR employees believe that industry and professional knowledge will be critical for their organisation. Despite this, only 42% are actually taking steps to develop their commercial awareness.

Speaking at the HR Most Influential event, Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College London, said he believes an understanding of technology and systems will continue to grow in importance for HR professionals. He described the impact of technology over the past decade as “astonishing”. “If you’re not familiar with technology you are missing out on something very important,” he said.

“Because of technology, in the future there will be fewer people and more systems. I think a lot of HR professionals are not particularly technology based. We need to know what the power of technology is, and the limitations of it.”