Market trends

2024 HR insights report

2024 rolled in off the back of a choppy 2023, driven by large scale tech lay-offs, reduced deal flow and depleted investment pipeline, all underpinned by geo-political tension in the Middle East.

Although less opportunities available in the market, business leaders consistently had ‘at large’ conversations with prospective candidates to keep a watchful eye on top talent. With these conversations occurring, “hope springs eternal” was the common cry from industry veterans, albeit with cautious optimism, after looking back on a year that typically has been dubbed ‘do more to get less’.

More recently, whispers of global transformation projects across various industries such as insurance and legal meant CVs were dusted down ready to be thrown into the ring when mandates came to fruition. With candidate fatigue from the bull market in 2022 fading throughout 2023, the recent overarching sentiment from top talent was one of certainty, should the right thing land on their doorstep: “let’s talk.”

Activity levels across the People and Talent landscape saw mixed results depending on sector and year end results. Investor-backed businesses capitalised on a slowdown in hiring against some of their listed competitors, hiring first-time People Directors to build out HR capabilities. After an intense hiring phase during the last 12 months, boutique financial services firms, particularly on the buy-side, caught their breath to take stock of their recent recruits and evaluate if a successful onboarding was fulfilled. With succession planning becoming front and centre of commercial mindsets, the classic HR Admin role hung up its boots and was replaced by the HR Associate, enabling businesses to hire high potential talent as opposed to operational administrators.

It's common for the Reward and People Analytics domain to experience a lull in Q1 as businesses wade through the battlefield of comp season. Across senior level hiring this remained true, although many CHRO’s indicated a real talent shortage internally should a gap arise in their reward function. Interestingly for this period, there was a spike in junior hiring, particularly in financial services, where new headcount was allocated to enable Analyst support across global channels. In prior years, Analyst hiring had dipped as larger corporates began offshoring reward capabilities in the hope that good talent would be cheaper further afield. With the increasing cost of living pressures now impacting the Eastern European hubs, businesses have started to analyse the denser talent pools in London and larger European cities in France, Portugal and Germany.

HR Infrastructure continues to be the heartbeat of big-ticket transformation projects, with system implementation and deployment radicalising the foundations of HR Operations. With firms increasingly recalibrating their lens on outdated transactional business models, a surge in activity at senior levels led to a war on talent for seasoned VPs in Shared Services, often leading teams in HR Technology, Payroll and Data Centres.   Sectors in traditionally slow-to-change environments such as insurance, legal and professional services caught a burst of energy in the race to revolutionise processes to enhance candidate experience from cradle to grave. Many CHROs reshuffled their HR team which commonly resulted in Heads of HR Operations being promoted to the People Leadership team.

For many, new salaries and bonuses came into effect as we moved into Q2, which in turn has been a gear shift for hiring activity. ‘HR transformation’ continues to be the buzz phrase for leaders, and HR Infrastructure is pivotal to enable this change. Reward professionals have come up for air after being knee-deep in spreadsheets, and a spike in buy-side conversations has spurred optimism to those in the sector who have seen a softer start to the year. Regardless of the trends in particular industries, one thing has remained consistent: inspirational leaders constantly have eyes and ears in the market to discuss insights, opportunities, or external talent.

If you’d like to discuss any of the above in further detail or potential hiring needs for your business, please reach out to me here.

Get in touch

Subscribe to our Perspectives

Ready for that
exceptional role?

Whatever your next HR career move, we’re here to find the role where you will make the greatest impact and guide you through the whole process. Let’s find your next opportunity together.

Ready for that exceptional candidate?

Building teams that will transform your business starts with the right people. Our global professional network of HR expertise is where to start. Let’s discuss building the team you need.

Let’s talk

Have a more general query you want to chat through? Our team members can support you with whatever your challenge and would love to see how they can help.