HR professionals are increasingly concerned about the budget

Published on 12 October 2017

The HR world is changing rapidly. A large majority (71%) of HR professionals expects their job to change in the near future and the threat of jobs disappearing through robotisation appears to be drawing closer. The allocated budget and its impact on the goals to be achieved form the greatest concern this year. Concerns in terms of the economic climate, however, have once again diminished.

  • More and more HR professionals see jobs disappearing within three years
  • 71% foresee changes to their jobs
  • Wages are rising at an average rate of 2.3%

This is evident from ‘HR Trends 2017-2018’, an independent and representative survey by HR and salary service provider ADP Nederland, management consultancy firm Berenschot and Performa Uitgeverij among over 1,000 Dutch HR professionals. HR Trends is the largest annual survey among HR professionals in the Netherlands.

HR professionals loyal but on the lookout

On average, HR professionals work longer for an employer than employees in other jobs. More than 60% of the respondents indicate they have been working for their current employer for more than five years, of which almost a third (32%) for at least 10 years. In the meantime, the number of HR professionals who wish to change jobs continues to grow. In 2016 this percentage was still stable compared to 2015 (21%), but this year that percentage has grown to 25%. HR professionals who have been with the same employer for 4 to 10 years look for other work more frequently (on average 34%). In this group the increase in job seekers is also the greatest compared with last year.

The percentage of respondents promoted in the past two years fell this year from over a quarter (27%) to 23%. This is more than their own prognosis in 2016. At that time, only 18% of respondents foresaw a step forward. In the period 2018-2019 approximately 21% of the respondents anticipate a promotion. The average wage increase of 2.3% under HR professionals lies mainly in fixed wages and not so much in variable pay. It is notable that more HR professionals are eligible for a bonus and/or profit distribution than last year.

Tasks are changing and automation continues

HR professionals are seeing a rapid change in their tasks; no fewer than 71% of the respondents foresee changes to their job in the near future. This is a remarkably higher percentage than last year (60%). More than half (54%) indicate that they foresee a change in the implementation of their tasks and almost one in four (38%) HR professionals believe that HR tasks will expand in the coming years. The same percentage anticipate that more management tasks will be included.

According to HR professionals, the ongoing automation and digitisation will particularly have consequences for jobs with many administrative tasks, but this year it is remarkable that HR professionals across the whole spectrum of jobs more often think that their job could probably disappear within three years.

Concerns about allocated budget

Although HR professionals appear to be more aware of the impact of automation in their particular field and/or job, concerns surrounding this theme fell from 23% in 2016 to 16% this year.

‘The fact that concerns about automation are diminishing while the impact is increasing could very well mean that HR professionals understand that other jobs will take the place of those jobs that will disappear. The advancement of information technology in HR means more is being invested in HRTech,’ says Hans van der Spek, Manager Knowledge Centre HCM at Berenschot.

HR professionals are also less concerned about the economic circumstances. (57% in 2016 vs. 42% this year.) This is related to the decreasing concerns about the ever-smaller demand for products and services from companies. Remarkably, however, the percentage of respondents concerned about the allocated budget and its impact on the goals to be achieved rose (45% in 2016 vs. 57% this year). This concern is even ranked in first place.

For the second consecutive year there is a growing fear of keeping up with professional knowledge and competencies. This concern (44%) is good for a second place. HR professionals are mainly afraid of lagging behind with their knowledge in their own field. Legal knowledge and management skills are also subjects in which HR professionals would like to further develop themselves. A newcomer on this list is HR analytics (4%), which is a subject that is expected to become more current in the coming years.

Tight labour market also noticeable in HR jobs

The tight labour market is also increasingly being felt in the HR world. More than one in ten (12%) HR professionals indicate that they regularly, or often, have difficulty in filling vacancies. Although it is still relatively easy to fill HR vacancies compared to other sectors, the growth of this concern is remarkable. In 2016, just 5% of HR professionals had difficulty with this.

About the survey

HR Trends is the largest annual survey among internal and external HR professionals in the Netherlands into the content and the reward of the HR function. During the survey, not only HR officers in salaried employment were interviewed, but also directors of HR service agencies and self-employed HR advisers. Over 1000 HR officers participated in the survey. HR Trends 2017-2018 is an initiative of Performa, conducted by Berenschot and jointly facilitated by ADP.

Hans van der Spek

Hans van der Spek

Senior managing consultant