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The State of HR

Understanding the current state of the HR profession is essential to ensuring future success.

By Marta Chmielowicz

Over the past year, HR professionals have been at the forefront of change, guiding their organisations through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CIPD’s 2020 People Profession Survey offers a snapshot of this critical inflection point for the people profession, demonstrating the vision, agility, and strength that HR brings to the table in a moment of crisis.

Upon examining the degree to which the role of HR is strategic versus operational or tactical, the survey revealed notable differences between countries, including:

  • Thirty-nine per cent of HR leaders in India reported that their function holds a strategic role in the organisation and delivers long-term value, up from the global average of 26%.
  • In Hong Kong (35%) and Australia (41%), respondents indicated that they have a strategic overview, but that their role is delivery-focused and contributes medium- to long-term value.
  • In Singapore (31%) and Hong Kong (32%), respondents work operationally to deliver short- to medium-term value to their organisation, up from the global average of 23%.
  • In Singapore, 24% of respondents said they worked operationally, supporting day-to-day delivery of people plans, projects, and solutions, compared to the global average of 17%.
  • Seventeen per cent of respondents in Malaysia said their work is usually tactical and involves gathering information and delivering immediate outcomes versus a global average of 8%.

HR leaders across the globe also held different beliefs about their skill levels, with those in Australia (45%) significantly more likely to say that they have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than they confront in their current role compared to the global average of 34%. Additionally, an average of 47% of global HR leaders say they have the skills to succeed in their current role—though this number was higher in Hong Kong (55%) and Malaysia (56%). In Singapore, over a third of respondents (36%) feel they lack some essential skills required for their current role versus a global average of 19%.

To help HR leaders progress in their careers and gain the skills they need to succeed, organisations should consider implementing learning programmes as well as relationship-based initiatives. Across the board, people professionals who have achieved their career goals are most likely to attribute their success to skills development opportunities (66%) followed by manager support (53%). Support from managers was especially critical in Singapore (60%), Malaysia (63%), and Australia (70%). Additionally, almost half (46%) of respondents from India indicated that their personal network has played an important role in their career success, compared to a global average of 36%.

The people profession is a critical role in the organisation, responsible for preparing the workforce to adapt quickly and effectively to changing circumstances. Indeed, 95% of people professionals believe they are doing meaningful work. As the industry continues to develop, understanding the career paths, strengths, and weaknesses of today’s HR leaders will be essential for planning for the future.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, Learning

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