November 2, 2012

4 More Ways To Future Proof Your HR Career

into the futureIn my recent article: 4 Easy Ways To Future Proof Your HR Career, I outlined how the HR landscape was set to change and that HR professionals needed to, amongst other things, become Career Agile and Technology Fluent as these are and will be two crucial personal differentiators in the HR candidate marketplace.

In this article, I outline four more important, but slightly more challenging ways that HR professionals can future proof their careers.

1. Be prepared to work temporary, interim, contract

We are entering the age of the ‘super temp’. Research from Manpower showed that the use of contingency workers in the US has increased from 1.47% of to 1.88% of the US workforce between 2010 and 2012. The research also found that 58% of companies plan to increase their use of contingent labor over the next five years.

This means that an increasing number of the engagements offered to HR and recruiting professionals may be interim. Traditionally, interim engagements have been looked on negatively as they can mean a lack of job stability, but if you close your self off to these opportunities you may be closing yourself off to a growing proportion of the job market.

So, it is vital that HR professionals develop an “interim/contingency worker skill-set and mind-set” so that they can remain employable if the job market becomes increasingly characterized by contingency based assignments — as it  promises to be. The sort of skills you need to be developing to flourish in this environment are:

  • Great interviewing skills and personal sales skills (the product is you)
  • Able to negotiate and influence effectively, particularly for higher starting salaries and great benefits.
  • Fast learner and can hit the ground running in new businesses
  • Able to establish rapport quickly with colleagues
  • Good relationship building skills and politically astute
  • Always has the eye out for the next opportunity
  • Project focused completer, finisher.

2. Maintain sector flexibility

Many HR professionals tend to specialize in certain sectors and I have supported this idea of specialization in previous articles so I am not going to go back on this. However, where possible try and gain experience/specialize in several related industries so if there is a decline in demand in one area, you can be easily employed in another area.

3. Become an Economist Reader

I don’t literally mean read the Economist (although its a great read if you are looking for that kind of thing), but modern HR and recruitment professionals should understand the national and global economic environment and how this drives global and local trends in the flow, demand and supply of talent by country, industry and profession.

For, example, and this is a more simplistic example the US Bureau of statistics has recently released figures of projected decline and growth in jobs by profession over the next five years – and just recently Careerbuilder and EMSI presented figures on the top 10 post-recession growth areas by industry and US City.

HR and Recruiters can use this knowledge to navigate their companies around areas of decline and to skillfully position themselves into industries, verticals and geographies that will be most prosperous.

4. Be Global

Oxford Economics fascinating new study, Global Talent 2021 tells us that global demand for talent over the next 10 years will remain modest in Europe (3.5%), will be strong in the US (6.1%) and will be double digit in Developed Asia, Eastern Europe, MENA and Latin America and explosive in Emerging Asia (22.2%). The landscape of HR is expected to shift as demand for HR and recruiting specialism in these areas outside of western Europe Is expected to increase and if HR professionals want to maximize their capital value in a global talent market, they should be constantly working to build and develop their working knowledge and experience outside of their home country.

Of course, none of us knows what the future brings, but past and current trends can give us a very probable idea of the future HR landscape which means we can develop sensible strategies to help us negotiate it.

I’d love to hear your views on the possible future landscape of HR and the kind of ways that HR professionals may need to change or the qualities they may need to show to succeed.

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Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.