Are your HR skills in hot demand?

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Recruiting firm Hays’ latest Quarterly Hotspots report of skills in demand has shown there are skills shortages across New Zealand, particularly in accountancy, construction and insurance. But two HR roles have also made the list of professionals in demand.
According to the report, HR Generalists and Work Health Safety Practitioners are in hot demand. The report states that for HR Generalists, public sector organisations are looking for candidates with good demonstrated experience in change management, particularly organisational and culture change. Meanwhile, Work Health Safety Practitioners are in high demand as employers focus on impending legislative changes.
Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, told HRM Online the demand for both these roles is up across all the main centres.
“We really have seen an increase right across all sectors across, all regions – it’s a very positive story for HR,” he said.
He said the increasing need for health and safety professionals hasn’t been limited to Christchurch as companies partaking in the rebuild have head offices based in other centres. In other main centres HR Generalists are hot property.
“We are really seeing a pickup in the government sector in HR in Wellington because of the number of restructures that are going on there and around remuneration and benefits,” Walker said. “In Auckland… businesses are starting to increase their retention programs because they believe this year they’ll probably see an increase in churn and turnover and they need to put some vehicles and processes in place to reduce this and they could be investing in more training and development, doing some analysis on remuneration and benefits and salaries in the market vs the competition.”

While no HR specialist roles made the list, Walker said Hays had noted a ”big increase” in demand for those specialising in training and development as businesses look at retention strategies.

“The demand fell away quite significantly during the recession and GFC for HR specialists and seeing the investment coming back is only a good thing,” he added.

Along with professionals with high-skill levels in many key areas being sought after, Walker said the report also highlighted two other trends – the calibre of job seekers on the market has increased and the desire to recruit one higher calibre candidate who can perform two job functions.

“People are returning to New Zealand from the UK and Australia. Often these candidates have been unable to command the salaries they wanted abroad and so they are now choosing to return home where they can secure good roles and maintain their career paths in a strong economy. These candidates are particularly sought after for their big company experience,” he explained.
As for seeking out top talent to perform two job functions, Walker said employers will pay a higher salary to one highly-skilled individual as opposed to a lower salary for two individuals who operate at a lower level.
“Employers are also spending more time assessing what skills the business actually requires, rather than recruiting direct replacements. Contractors are being used to cover workloads while this is worked out,” he added. 
Other jobs identified as  in demand across New Zealand by Hays include: business analysts, management accountants, credit controllers, intermediate and senior auditors, CAD drafters, registered architects, site/project managers, customer service, telesales, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, insurance claims, infrastructure engineers, executive assistants, contract administrators quantity surveyors, business development managers, digital marketing managers, plumbers carpenters and scaffolders.

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