Should TA be a Part of HR?

5 mins

Over the past six months, there has been a great deal of uncertainty in the job market due t...

Over the past six months, there has been a great deal of uncertainty in the job market due to massive layoffs and hiring freezes. This has had a negative impact on the recruitment industry, with many recruiters and talent acquisition (TA) leaders losing their jobs. The recent wave of redundancies in the field has raised questions about the strategic importance of TA and its relationship to human resources (HR). While some founders and business leaders, that I have spoken to recently view both as the same thing, the objectives of these functions differ significantly. HR is responsible for the overall employee experience and lifecycle, whereas TA is responsible for attracting and hiring the best talent available in the market.


Talent Acquisition has undergone continuous evolution over the years. Attracting the right talent is a time-consuming process, and specialized recruiters typically search for both active and passive candidates. In today's world, as well as traditional recruitment, the field now embodies networking and building relationships. Recruiters work on activities such as talent landscape analysis, talent engagement strategy, mapping, pipeline building, market insights, future skills analysis, tracking talent/people movement, branding, and more. To accomplish these tasks, they must stay up to date with the market.


Traditional Approach:

Traditionally TA has been a part of HR, with recruiters reporting to HR managers. However, this organizational structure can lead to a risk of developing a strong tactical or transactional mindset. HR tends to be highly process-driven; meaning that recruiters often have to follow these processes rigidly, resulting in a culture where the focus is on filling chairs rather than finding the right talent. With the current market, this can lead to high turnover rates with many leaving within the first few years. Despite the drawbacks of this traditional approach, many companies continue to follow this structure. There needs to be a focus on attracting the right talent, to do this, specialist recruiters must build relationships, engage with the market, and adopt a more strategic approach to talent attraction and acquisition. We must not forget, irrespective of the market, organizations are always looking to hire for niche and critical skills.


TA as an Independent Function:

Would it not make sense for the TA function to operate independently and report directly to the CEO? After all, building a strong organizational culture begins with recruiting the right people, and senior leaders need to have a clear understanding of the talent landscape. Economic cycles are inevitable, but by giving the TA function an independent budget, companies can maximize their TA resources and allow the function to flourish. During downturns, companies can retain their exceptional talent and redeploy their skills to other areas of the organization. By operating independently, TA can effectively engage with stakeholders and manage their expectations, rather than dealing with endless complaints.


My concern is, in the wake of companies laying off their talent acquisition professionals, who will take up the mantle of performing these duties? Will these organizations halt their strategic talent acquisition initiatives altogether? Or will business leaders need to re-employ the talent they are currently laying off?


Let us know what you think, should TA sit in HR, or should the functions be split?


If you would like to discuss this topic further, I would be keen to get insight across the board, feel free to reach out. Alternatively, for those who don't know us, Elliott Scott HR is an executive search firm with offices across Hong Kong, Singapore, New Delhi, New York, London, and Sao Paolo. We specialize in recruiting mid to senior level HR professionals globally. 


If you are a client looking to build your team or a candidate looking for your next move or are an HR professional just looking to brainstorm ideas or knowledge sharing - I'm all ears and happy to connect on