It’s a new year, and on the HR and Recruitment front, things are continuing to change as the global economy improves and new challenges and opportunities arise. As always, when the landscape changes, HR is both in a position of leading and reacting to change, and the areas to watch in 2015 reflect this.

Trend Number One – Leadership is Being Redefined
When I started out in a corporate role, the accepted definition of a great leader included words like judgement, influence, drive and analytical rigour. To rank as a great leader, the measure was firmly focussed on what you delivered – whilst over the past few years the importance has steadily shifted to how you delivered it. This increases the importance of leadership skills that might have previously been described as ‘soft’ – empathy, curiosity, resilience, innovation, collaboration and reactiveness.

The reason for this is simple. The millennial generation (and Gen Z, the oldest of whom are already starting to hit the workforce) value relationships, transparency and honesty. Global scandals such as widespread banking collapses, have dented trust in institutions, and paved the way for a new sort of leader to emerge; one who will change the world of work for us all.

Trend Number Two – The War For Talent is Fought Globally; And on All Fronts
The War for Talent is fifteen years old – but it is not won yet. According to KPMG’s HR Centres of Excellence Survey, nearly two thirds of employers agree that the war has developed into something new, and is showing no signs of abating. Talent shortages, especially in emerging roles, are fast becoming critical, as employers have failed to respond quickly enough to the changing priorities of millennial employees who are rising through the ranks.

The improving economic conditions will accelerate this issue, with global mobility meaning that all employers fish in roughly the same talent pool, and need to distinguish themselves to an increasingly well connected, choosy and informed group of potential employees.

Trend Number Three – Stability Challenges Rock The Boat
The last time I recall stability being a genuine issue was around 2006, when finding and retaining talented employees was the key focus of our busy HR Department. During the subsequent downturn, nervousness about the global economic outlook meant that people were unwilling to move on – but things are now changing again.

As well as the economy impacting stability, the expectations of employees has a major impact, with millennial professionals expecting to change business 9 times in their lifetime, including one complete career change. A ‘job for life’ has never sounded more outdated.

Trend Number Four – Recruitment Goes Mobile – And is Powered by Social Media
When it comes to recruitment, the journey to a mobile job search is well underway. 83% of American jobseekers use their smartphone or tablet to look for jobs, with 39% applying through these devices. Whilst a large number of people still use PCs to apply, the early adopters are setting the benchmark for how recruitment in 2015 needs to work – mobile friendly job sites, and instant application via your phone.

Unsurprisingly, it is not only in the application process that technology is shaping recruitment – jobseekers increasingly expect to be connected to potential employers via social media, building relationships before applying for positions, and feeling an immediate connection with prospective employers.

Trend Number Five – Non Traditional Career Paths Move to The Mainstream
A final trend that is both cause and effect of many of the other changes, is that the traditional career path is an endangered species. A recent survey found that one in three Americans already work in a freelance position; a natural coming together of changing employment patterns, different expectations of work, and improved technology making freelance work accessible to all. With millennials the first generation to have never experienced nor expected a job for life – and therefore not mourning the loss of this stability – the idea of a flexibility of working pattern is an opportunity to be embraced.

With every new year come new developments in the work we do as HR professionals. It is the change that makes the job a joy, and keeps us fresh. In 2015, in some ways it feels that a new cycle is coming round in the world of work, and in others it feels like fundamental change is afoot, as the generational shift, technological advances and broad societal movement conspire to change the world for us all.


Claire Millard

HR Consultant