Michael Page`s study reveals HR is becoming key to business growth

Global HR Barometer: Focus Northern Europe*
Michael Page’s study reveals HR is becoming key to business growth
Stockholm, September 22nd - Michael Page just released its Global HR Barometer, a year-long research
effort which looks at business and HR trends around the world. 2500 HR leaders from over 65 countries
participated in an online survey. The research reveals that the role of HR is evolving from an administrative
service to acting as a strategic business partner. To win the “Second War for Talent”, talent management and
training & development is key, however KPI tracking can be improved to evaluate HR performance.
Recruitment expectations signal new phase of economic growth
42% of HR leaders in Northern Europe expect their organisation’s total workforce to increase in the next 12
months (compared to a global 48% and 60% in the UK). This correlates well with the Arbetsförmedlingen
forecast for 2015-2016 which suggests continued job growth on the Swedish labour market, especially in the
Stockholm and Gothenburg regions for industry related services. There is also a fear that skill shortages will
hinder companies form securing the talent they require. “We see a clear gap between what our clients require
in terms of qualifications and experience and what is available on local job markets”, says Jamie Hart,
Managing Director of Michael Page in Sweden. “The ability of companies to source and retain talent both
nationally and internationally is crucial.”
HR is becoming key in the “Second War for Talent” but are they ready for this complex mix of challenges?
The study shows that companies are taking the skills gap seriously and HR departments are rearming their
companies with an intensified focus on the recruitment, development and management of talent. HR is
becoming key to business growth and needs to continue its evolution towards being an operational and
strategic business partner. The difficult HR tasks of laying off employees and cutting costs, demanded by the
economic downturn, may now no longer divert HR from more strategic initiatives.
An interesting finding is that even if many organisations expect to increase total number of employees, they
are not planning to grow their HR teams: 86% of Northern European HR leaders expect their HR staff levels to
remain the same or even decrease. That leads to the question: Does HR have the resources to handle the need
for successful talent management? As skill shortages increase, organisations need to think long and hard about
the resources they invest towards employee branding and talent attraction. They need to have the right
incentives and development in place to attract top talent, offer compelling career opportunities whilst also
improving retention. These initiatives are now so strategically important they cannot be the sole responsibility
of HR departments to drive, and line managers will have to step up and ”lean in”, so that these issues remain
high on the agenda. “Our every day work is to deal with the expectations from both professionals and
employers and the most common reasons for not managing to attract the high calibre candidates is poor
definition of the ideal candidate, panic recruitment as well as slow and bureaucratic hiring processes.
Companies who address these issues promptly will be gaining a significant strategic advantage”, says Jamie
HR and business transformation to deal with the skills gap
Another interesting insight revealed in the study is that HR leaders in Northern Europe consider change
management and transformation projects as the number one priority in their markets, whereas globally it is
ranked in fifth place. "Swedish leaders really understand that their company's ability to innovate and succeed is
driven primarily by the skills of its workforce and the capability to drive transformation projects. CEOs and HR
Directors not only need to ensure the talent their company requires is on board, but also that it is properly
trained and retained. Companies have realised they have to make traditional HR departments think strategically
in a world of uneven economic growth with a widening skills gap.”
KPI tracking remains major weakness in HR departments
One area where Northern Europe are still lagging behind in terms of HR is the performance measurement. The
study shows that HR departments struggle to make their efforts and achievements transparent with few KPIs in
place. However, the best HR departments secure their investment and systematically track employee
performance, staff turnover and employee engagement required to meet the needs of their business. “Many
companies need to develop their own HR staff, teach them technical skills and the correct usage of metrics to
execute their business strategy.”
About Michael Page
PageGroup, under the brands of Michael Page and Page Personnel, is one of the world’s best-known and wellrespected professional recruitment consultancies. Established in 1976 in the United Kingdom, it now spans 155
offices in 35 countries. PageGroup is a leading provider of permanent, contract and temporary recruitment for
qualified professionals and executives. In Sweden, Michael Page and Page Personnel were established in 2002
and have offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Consult the full report, regional fact sheet and executive summary here: link of report
*The data quoted here represents the views of 272 respondents located in Northern Europe, namely: Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium
and Luxembourg.
Jamie Hart
Executive Director
Michael Page
T:+46 (0)8 545 270 40
E: [email protected]