H2 2023 Market Update: HR Job Market in the US

5 mins

In October the US job numbers revealed an increase of 150,000 new roles, albeit lower than a...

In October the US job numbers revealed an increase of 150,000 new roles, albeit lower than anticipated, unemployment rate also rose to 3.9%, marking its highest point since January 2022.

Reflecting this trend, our observations align with a lack of consistent flow in HR job opportunities across all levels. There appears to be a cautious stance toward external hiring. Although we have seen a higher need for mid-level HR roles, with total rewards, compensation and benefits being the most consistent need from a specialist perspective. The senior HR market remains flat, with the most common skill set, focused on transformation and M&A integrations. 

HR Structure trends: 

During Q3, considerable effort was dedicated to reshaping HR functions, where organisations prioritized employee reskilling over external recruitment. We’ve seen the elevation of the Talent function, which includes Talent Acquisition in some instances. This shift aims to comprehensively manage the employee life cycle—from attraction and recruitment to onboarding and performance management. This strategic approach facilitates a genuine assessment of competency and skill gaps, addressing them through upskilling, re-skilling, re-deployment, restructuring, or, in certain cases, headcount reduction.

Should internal gaps persist, organizations are more inclined to consider external searches. These searches are tailored and targeted, emphasizing filling specific identified gaps. For candidates, understanding this narrative is crucial, as effective storytelling plays a pivotal role in positioning relevant experience as a solution.

Moreover, HR Business Partners (HRBPs) are now more integrated within business units or assigned client groups. This integration empowers HRBPs to own overall strategy, leveraging shared service and specialist functions for execution. The resultant model requires HRBPs to demonstrate robust business acumen, often manifested through industry experience. Consequently, specialist functions have expanded at the mid-level, accompanied by the restructuring of senior roles.


How are we partnering with our clients? 

  1. Revitalizing roles they are having difficulty filling, typically initiated after internal resources have been maximized without achieving the desired quality. However, misalignments in client-candidate expectations, particularly in compensation and hybrid work schedules, pose challenges.
  2. Enhancing active talent pools with passive/diverse candidates through targeted headhunting efforts. A challenge we then tackle is convincing passive candidates to consider lateral opportunities.
  3. Adding value to HR functions by engaging in passive, sensitive, and future bench strength pipelining for clients concerned about their teams' capability to meet redefined goals. Challenges we see include the absence of urgency or formal commitment to making offers, resulting in prolonged and less structured processes.


How are we adding value to our HR Community? 

Demonstrating our commitment to adding value to the HR community, we recently concluded our Global HR Survey with over 9000 participants, covering topics such as compensation, career priorities, organizational hiring plans, AI in HR, and flexi-time working.

Additionally, our HR Talk Series, consisting of 5 episodes, and the ongoing HR Insights Podcast in its sixth season further contribute to current HR trends and innovation.

Looking ahead to 2024, while we anticipate an increase in hiring, it is unlikely to resemble the post-COVID hiring boom. The focus will persist on scrutinizing workforce planning and innovating employee experiences, incorporating new systems, technology, and preparing the workforce for future hiring needs.