Q1 2024 Market Update: HR Job Market in EMEA

10 mins

Overview of the HR Market from Managing Director, Kirstin HuntThe first three months of this...

Overview of the HR Market from Managing Director, Kirstin Hunt

The first three months of this year have displayed a split in sentiment. There is a lot of proactiveness from our HR candidates who are ready for a new challenge, with good talent in the market and yet they cannot always find the right opportunity, have faced rejections upon application or undergo successful interviews only to experience a lack of feedback afterwards. So, for our candidates, we encourage maintaining the positivity, leveraging personal networks and branding. It is important to carefully consider your unique selling points and stay resilient! Elliott Scott HR is providing one-on-one coaching sessions on enhancing online personal branding, so please reach out if you would like to find out more on this offering. 

As individuals contemplate career moves, assessing alignment between company culture and personal values remains a pivotal consideration, with the culture evaluation commencing from the moment a CV is shared through to the efficiency of the recruitment process. 

When considering what is keeping HR motivated at the moment, a few key incentives come to mind; connecting their work to tangible business outcomes, receiving support from the C-suite, and maintaining a focus on employee engagement, performance management, and productivity. Data and effective tools are essential, but authentic leadership must complement these resources. Additionally, discussions have centred around upskilling HR Business Partners to become more effective collaborators with the business, offering innovative, solution-oriented approaches. Change management and transformation is also high on the agenda for the start of this year.  

I continue to host a series of HRD events covering pertinent topics such as the HR connection with the Board and C-Suite in preparation for the Future of Work, and the evolving role of HRD in supporting the CEO agenda for maximum impact. We recently delved into discussions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with Sasha Scott. It has been hard for HR leaders to carve out time for their own self-development so in our upcoming May HRDelve session we have the pleasure of Susan Room joining us for an in-person session on Executive Presence. To sign up to this event, please click here

You can get in touch with Kirstin Hunt on LinkedIn or at kh@elliottscotthr.com


A Commerce Update from Tom Dover

HR Job Market: Commerce and Industry 2024

As the first quarter of 2024 draws to a close the HR job market in Commerce and Industry reflects a dynamic landscape influenced by shifting industry trends and evolving organisational priorities. While certain trends from the previous year persist, new focal points have emerged, shaping the demand for HR professionals across various sectors.

Talent Development Transitions to HR Operations: In 2023, talent development and Organisational Development took centre stage as businesses prioritised upskilling and reskilling initiatives to nurture their workforce. However, in 2024, there has been a noticeable shift towards roles in HR operations. Organisations are increasingly focusing on streamlining HR processes and leveraging data-driven insights to enhance efficiency and decision-making. HR professionals adept at implementing automated systems, optimising workflows, and collating and analysing data are in high demand as companies seek to maximise the effectiveness of their HR functions.

Reward Remains a Competitive Space: Despite the shift towards HR operations, reward management continues to be a competitive space in the HR job market. Entry-level salaries in this field saw a considerable rise in the latter half of 2023, reflecting the importance organisations place on attracting and retaining top talent. HR professionals specialising in compensation and benefits design, performance management, and employee recognition strategies are sought after as companies strive to maintain a competitive edge in talent acquisition and retention.

Uncertainty in Retail: The retail sector, encompassing both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce businesses, remains in a state of flux. Many HR professionals working in retail, particularly generalists, are feeling insecure in their positions as companies grapple with changing consumer behaviours, supply chain disruptions, and economic uncertainty. HR professionals with the ability to navigate complex retail environments, adapt to shifting market dynamics, and drive organisational resilience are highly valued in this sector.

Investments Drive Demand in Tech and Real Estate: In contrast to the uncertainty in retail, investments are on the rise in the tech and real estate industries. Start-ups and established tech firms alike are fuelling demand for mid to senior-level HR roles as they scale operations and expand their workforce. Similarly, the real estate sector is witnessing a surge in demand for HR professionals to support growth initiatives and talent acquisition efforts. HR professionals with experience in fast-paced, innovative environments are well-positioned to thrive in these industries.

Despite the apparent busyness of the HR job market in 2024, it remains distinctly client driven. Organisations dictate the pace and structure of recruitment processes, often resulting in prolonged timelines and limited communication with candidates. Feedback from candidates echoes a common sentiment, highlighting frustrations with extended intervals between interview stages and a lack of substantive feedback. This phenomenon underscores the importance for HR professionals to advocate for streamlined and transparent recruitment processes that prioritise candidate experience. As organisations vie for top talent in a competitive landscape, those that prioritise clear communication, efficient decision-making, and candidate engagement will stand out as employers of choice. HR professionals who can navigate client-driven recruitment dynamics while championing best practices in candidate experience management will be instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent for their organisations.

You can get in touch with Tom Dover on LinkedIn or at td@elliottscotthr.com


A Financial and Professional Services Update from Peter Fahy and Hannah Russell

The headline we see in Financial and Professional Services is a very mixed market, highly segmented by sector and indeed individual organisation.

Professional Services: The market remains stable; we have seen some more progressive firms, both large and small evolving their HR offering to become more commercial and looking for key HR roles to drive this. We are seeing investment in systems and learning.  Reassuringly professional services firms are much more open to considering candidates from a variety of sector backgrounds, which is making for a more diverse culture within these firms as they are able to bring in more innovation in the midst of a changing landscape.

Banking: The sentiment is still a cautious one and vacancies tend to be backfills, with some upskilling across HR Business Partnering and HR Operations or Fixed Term Contracts to cover leaves of absence. Bonuses are largely flat on last year and have been modest, although have met expectations. Candidates are certainly  interested in exploring their next move, but the static market means that candidates are hesitant to make a move unless there is a significant financial or promotional gain. 

Insurance: HR hiring is relatively good with solid demand and cautious investment, in particular in HR Operations and Reward. Candidates are moving both between insurance firms and into insurance from other sectors.

The Buy-side: Throughout 2023 we saw similar HR hiring trends across PE/Hedge Funds and Asset Management. This year however, we have seen these three areas become more segmented. 

Asset Management: We have seen some of the larger firms put the brakes on spending in the form of hiring freezes and redundancies. For smaller Asset Managers, it often depends on company’s performance, broadly speaking, even if a firm has seen a stable 2023, they remain cautious and it is more replacement hiring taking place. We have seen some firms slow down or stop their graduate hiring and programs, however as the market begins to stabilise we are hearing of a renewed focus to restarting these programs to ensure the business has a strong pipeline of emerging talent. For those firms large enough to have a dedicated TA team this means that building for the future with a diverse lens and getting behind the EVP and the data is critical. 

Private Equity: Hiring activity has been split by the type of investments the PE firm makes. For example, we have seen PE houses who have heavily invested in tech perform well. There is no issue with fund raising and firms are sitting on record cash reserves, however there are not enough deals to execute on and deals still being seen as overpriced. PE firms with exposure to private credit and life assurance are still performing well, but also looking to diversify as more PE firms enter the space.

In terms of HR hiring, this manifests itself as a precarious market with hiring largely covering attrition for now. Hedge Funds was one of the most resilient areas of Financial Services in 2023. This year’s results have shown that their traditional ability to respond to volatility has not worked throughout the industry. Some continue to grow and even those who have performed well have put a hold on hiring for now, but for those who are hiring it is around fine tuning their HR operations or replacing business partners due to competitive moves. 

There has been positive news with investors now being bullish on Crypto through Q1 and we’ve seen a renewed focus on HR hiring for firms with exposure to these markets. We’ve also seen a general increase in confidence within the algorithmic trading space with candidates from a traditional finance background open to moving into areas like crypto and quantitative trading. 

You can get in touch with Peter Fahy or Hannah Russell on LinkedIn or at pf@elliottscotthr.com or hr@elliottscotthr.com