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The changing nature of work is fundamentally altering both HR operating models and the capabilities HR practitioners need for the future

, according to the latest HR Outlook survey report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for HR and people development in the UK. Although the role of the HR business partner has become more prevalent in recent years, the report found that many HR professionals are not developing the skills needed to fulfill these new responsibilities effectively, such as commercial acumen, data awareness and analysis and other specialist skills.


The report surveyed 630 HR professionals, covering a number of issues and emerging trends that help to indicate the current state of the profession, and measured how HR professionals and employers are understanding and reacting.

Highlights from the survey include:


Half of HR departments have undergone a structural change in the last two years, mainly in order to enable HR to become a more strategic contributor to the business.

Three-quarters of HR practitioners agree that HR understands how the organization works and how people practices influence the value chain.

Over half of HR practitioners feel confident about using data and metrics to instigate change in the organization or to improve the HR function’s effectiveness, but less than half said their HR function goes on to draw insight from people data and communicate it to stakeholders to drive competitive advantage.

Almost half of HR directors surveyed said their last job role was outside of HR and seven out of 10 HR directors worked in roles outside of HR five job roles ago. This suggests that time spent learning elsewhere in the business or rotating in and out of HR could be valuable in reaching a senior HR position.


“Our report highlights how much the HR function has developed in just three years, when we last surveyed the profession,” said Dr. Jill Miller, research advisor at the CIPD. “HR has a crucial role to play in bringing unique insights about the organization’s people to business debates, informing strategic decision-making.”

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