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These are boom times for HR careers, latest data from XpertHR – the UK’s leading online HR resource – reveals. The majority of HR professionals are optimistic about their future. Three-quarters (76.9%) feel confident that there will be good job prospects for them within the HR profession in five years’ time. This is exactly the same figure as recorded in XpertHR’s 2017 research, suggesting that the pandemic has not dampened HR’s overall positive outlook.

The 2022 HR careers survey shows that 38.8% of UK HR professionals report that the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have had a positive impact on their HR career. Half this number (18.3%) saw a negative impact, while a further 32.3% experienced no impact, and the remainder (10.6%) were unsure.

Among those citing a positive impact, it’s clear that HR has become more agile and influential within the organisation as immediate people management issues (such as the rapid implementation of remote working) came to the fore. Another widely mentioned positive consequence of the pandemic is an expanding HR jobs market, with organisations more willing to take on employees from outside their geographical region and being open to a wider variety of working patterns.

Many of those reporting a negative impact point to a significantly increased workload caused by the pandemic.

HR professionals say the main skills they need and regularly use in their current roles are employee relations (58.2%), business awareness (57.8%), and comprehensive knowledge of employment law (46.4%). Meanwhile, people analytics (26.6%) and HR data management (24.7%) are key areas in which HR professionals would like to develop their expertise. 

To gauge whether HR professionals would recommend HR as a career choice, XpertHR calculated a net promoter score (NPS) for HR. The resulting score for HR is +13.5, which is good but not great. While this is a positive NPS, it suggests that UK HR professionals would be likely to recommend HR as a career choice, but with some reservations. A breakdown by gender finds that male HR professionals would be less likely than their female counterparts to provide an enthusiastic recommendation for an HR career.

Michael Carty, benchmarking editor at XpertHR, comments: 

“It is heartening to see that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not dampened HR’s overall positive outlook and enthusiasm for careers in the profession.

“For many HR professionals the last two years have been among the most eventful and testing times in their careers. People management issues – such as implementing remote work models and creating safe office environments for returning employees – have topped the corporate agenda for many organisations during the pandemic, creating both challenges and opportunities for HR. 

“As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, now is a particularly lively and vibrant time for people to embark on a career within HR. A strong emphasis on people issues – like recruiting and retaining key talent, ensuring a strong organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a focus on the employee experience – means that HR has a key role to play now and in the future.” 

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