Seventy-one percent of HR professionals expect their jobs to change

Published on 10 October 2019

Ever-increasing impact of digitalisation on payroll and human resources admin

No less than 71 percent of Dutch HR professionals expect their jobs to change in the coming period. This is the conclusion of the 'HR Trends 2019-2020' research report carried out among almost 2,000 HR professionals in the Netherlands. The research was an initiative of Performa publishers and was  implemented by Berenschot with support from AFAS Software. HR staff are particularly aware that jobs in human resources admin and payroll are changing as a result of digitalisation.

More than in previous years, employees mainly expect changes in the execution of tasks (66 percent). Almost half (46 percent) also anticipate an expansion of the HR role and tasks, compared to only 26 percent of those surveyed last year. Digitalisation appears to be an important factor in the changes they foresee. No less than 30 percent of those surveyed say that the adjustment of the range of tasks is the result of digitalisation and/or robotisation.

Jobs will disappear

The impact of digitalisation is mainly seen in HR functions involving substantial administrative tasks. HR professionals even believe that digitalisation will result in job losses in payroll and human resources, in the longer term. For example, 16 percent of those surveyed expect jobs in the HR department to disappear in the next three years, and 13 percent expect job losses in the payroll department. "As businesses intensify their digital transformations it’s clear that more HR professionals are aware of the potential impact on their own jobs," says Hans van der Spek, the senior management consultant at Berenschot who was responsible for the study. Bas van der Veldt, CEO of AFAS Software. "Change is not necessarily a bad thing. HR is about people of course, not about administration. If organisations implement digitalisation effectively, much of the administrative burden will disappear, freeing up time for employees to work on other things.”

Employees see little short-term impact on their own jobs

However, in the short term, HR employees do not seem to be worried about the changes caused by digitalisation. None of the respondents expects their own job to disappear in the near future, and 42 percent of the HR professionals even state that their position on the labour market has improved. This could be due to growing difficulties in filling HR vacancies. Seventeen percent of the HR professionals now say that they have problems filling positions, compared to 13 percent in 2018. "Although the HR sector is low on the list of sectors experiencing difficulty finding the right people, we are seeing relatively strong growth in the shortage of suitable employees," says Hans van der Spek.

Ongoing concerns about the labour market and economic developments

In addition to changing tasks and the impact of digitalisation, the main worry of HR professionals is the continuing tight labour market. Sixty-eight percent of those questioned mention this as a cause for concern in their work. Forty-one percent also fear that a decline in economic growth, for example as a result of trade wars, will impact their work. As for the consequences of these economic developments, 82 percent of HR professionals expect a rise in the shortage of suitable personnel.

This may be related to the fact that 57 percent of those surveyed believe that the workload will increase as the economic climate changes. "Companies may continue to seek digital solutions to fill the gaps in the labour market in the coming period. So we expect more frequent changes in the range of tasks as a result of digitalisation," concludes Hans van der Spek.

About the research

The annual HR trend survey was conducted in 2019 among 1,949 HR professionals in the Netherlands. The study is an initiative of Performa publishers, carried out by organizational consultancy Berenschot, with the support of AFAS Software. HR Trends' is the largest annual survey among HR professionals in the Netherlands.

Download the report (Dutch only).


Hans van der Spek_klein

Hans van der Spek

Senior managing consultant

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