The Future of HR: Trends to Expect in 2017
The Future of HR: Trends to Expect in 2017

By Geralyne Kaye

Posted on 24 February 2017

HR planningHR challengesHR solutions
Just two months into 2017 and the current hiring environment still looks slightly bleak, despite reports showing that one in three companies intend to expand its headcount this year1. Hiring problems faced by most companies in 2016 (like a tight labour market and connecting with a relevant talent pool), no longer account for the main reasons to why companies face hiring issues. Moving forward in 2017, this year’s HR issues would mainly stem from the volatile global economy and the financial cutbacks implemented by most companies.

Here are a few HR trends to expect for the rest of 2017.

Hiring Freeze
Due to global business slowdown and news of recession still looming over the horizon, many companies are seen implementing a hiring freeze. Those who are still hiring are seeking candidates which have dual-function roles - double hatting. Marketing Executives are no longer just in charge of basic marketing campaigns but are expected to also be familiar and proficient in carrying out certain roles that a Digital Marketer or Social Media Analyst would play.

Increase in Freelancers
With companies facing constraints for more permanent headcount solutions, coupled with a hiring freeze, freelancers are the next best short-term solution many companies are turning to. According to the latest figures, there are more than 200,000 freelancers currently in Singapore2. This number is forecasted to increase this year as more Singaporeans seek employment independence and part-time freelance opportunities (for those who already hold down a day job).

Constant Skills Upgrading
Apart from the routine training exercises most HR departments have laid out for employees, many PMETs are seen taking charge of their personal skills training. Tapping on their SkillsFuture Credits and other SkillsFuture initiatives, Singaporeans are seeking new skills or are refreshing their skill sets to remain relevant in this uncertain labour market. HR professionals and head hunters can expect to see more job applicants who possess other technical skills related to their main roles. For example, a candidate applying for the role of a Marketing Executive may also possess intermediate coding skills.  

Although the year ahead seems to be as unpredictable and volatile as the last, perhaps a skills upgrade or avenue to attain new skills might be another viable way to retain talent. The SkillsFuture umbrella also has employer-centric ones which may benefit your company. Read more about it here.

1 “One in three Singapore employers plan to hire in 2017”, HRM Asia, 20 December 2016
2 “On my own: Number of Singapore’s freelancers blows up to 200,000”, Singapore Business Review, 09 September 2016

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