HR Overview

HR Overview

This year is already shaping up to be a great year for all those involved in the HR Industry, with a steady increase in demand for the skill and further diversity in terms of how HR skills are utilised within organisations.

Generalist Vs Specialist

Over the past 12 months there has been a steady requirement for HR Generalists of all levels across Northern Ireland, with the demand looking like it will increase in 2016, as organisations understand the benefit of having strong all-rounders, capable of providing a multi-skilled HR service to their workforce.

On the flip side, with the increase in HR hires, particularly within larger organisations, more emphasis is being placed on the diversification of HR skills, across recruitment, training, employee relations and organisational development, as well as more specialised functions, such as reward and mobility, which is providing HR Professionals with new HR related opportunities that were less frequently available 2 – 3 years ago. 

In 2016, the trend in specialising will continue and many HR professionals are now actively seeking this option, as it provides a chance to carve out a more niche skillset and place themselves in a more favourable hiring position with future employers.

Business Partnering

Another trend which shows no sign of curtailing is the continued adoption of the business partnering model, which tends to place more strategic emphasis on HR and encourages an interlinking with other organisational leaders.

What truly defines a Business Partner is the million dollar question, with some organisations using the term to define what would ordinarily be a HR Generalist, and has led to a wide differentiator in terms of salary offered for this particular job title. 

The HR professionals who are commercially-minded and clearly demonstrate the ability to support a business strategy, with a strategically-aligned people strategy, are often the ones who will command the higher salaries.

What has really become evident is the increased demand for HR related qualifications, as employers look for industry educated employees to further enhance their workforce.  An observation over the past 12 – 18 months has been that those with industry specific training and continued CPD, tend to progress into senior management roles more quickly, which shows the importance employers place upon these qualifications. For those considering a career in Human Resources, it is now essential to possess some sort of industry qualification, as the competition for jobs at this end of the market is fierce.


Finally, the demand for HR Contractors continues to show no sign of reducing, as they provide a highly valuable service to organisations to include project cover, sickness cover and maternity cover, particularly relevant within a female dominated industry (approx. 75% of the HR population).

Many HR professionals are now more open to considering employment on a temporary and fixed term contract basis, as it provides a number of alternatives to that of permanent employment. For example, for HR graduates, it’s a great way to get a foot in the market, for those that wish to avail of more flexible working options, temporary employment can often meet these needs, as well as normally offering enhanced rates of pay for those with particularly sought after skillsets.

The benefit to an organisation of considering a flexible workforce is that they can avail of employees with different industry experiences, which can bring new ideas, particularly helpful for projects. The benefit for the employee in a temporary role, is they get to encounter new experiences and challenges and often helps produce a more rounded HR professional, which ultimately also benefits the organisation as well.