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78% of senior HR specialists see AI as pivotal to future of HR industry

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Flexibility is the top motivator in the world of work for HR professionals

New research reveals AI is both the biggest opportunity and barrier for HR professionals – highlighting significant gaps in digital adoption, technology, people analytics and data analysis skills.

Specialist HR recruitment consultancy Macmillan Davies commissioned its; ‘2023 HR Insights; A focus on the future’ to shed light on how the UK HR roles will evolve.

According to the survey, the legal, FMCG, transport and logistics, and insurance sectors are the top sectors for remuneration and pay rises for in-house HR roles, followed by property and real estate. Retail and consumer sectors are the worst, with just 27% receiving a pay rise at their latest pay review.

The study involved HR professionals in permanent full time and part time, contract and interim HR positions, in 22 industry sectors including IT, financial, legal and professional services, education, and retail, with the majority (70%) of participants at ‘Business Partner’ level or above.

 Key survey highlighted: 

  • 33% of HR professionals feel more valued post-pandemic 
  • 41% were satisfied with their remuneration
  • 17% of HR professionals see a career in HR as giving them a clear route to becoming CEO or MD
  • 65% of HR professionals want hybrid working

The survey also explored the seismic shift in the workplace since 2019. Flexibility is the top motivator for HR professionals. However, there are a below average number of part-time roles within the HR function. The 4-Day Working Week, and only working two days a week in the office, are favoured options for HR specialists to achieve the perfect good work/life balance.

With the growing skills and talent shortage in the UK, the survey shows that talent attraction and retention are the biggest ‘time stealer’ for HR professionals.

The biggest issues HR professionals face until 2025/26 are:

  • Acquisition and retention of talent
  • Diversity, equality and inclusion
  • HR and people strategy
  • Organisational design and change management
  • Pay and reward strategies

The survey also revealed the average tenure of HR interims ranges from a few months up to eight years.

Darren Hayman, Managing Director of Macmillan Davies, says: “In recent years, the HR function has strengthened and reinforced its importance. To be able to continue to make a strategic contribution to the business alongside offering valuable insights, it’s clear it’s essential for HR skills and actions to focus on embracing technological developments, with workforce data and analytics especially critical.

For more information visit: www.mdhr.co.uk

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