Market Large-01

The list of skills, knowledge and insights sought from an HR leader, even the most seasoned HR Director, is long and growing in a rapidly changing workplace. At the same time, the dynamics of recruiting the modern HR professional is also changing. I have been engaged by Boards, Executives, and Private Equity owners for over a decade now – meeting / evaluating hundreds of HR Executives. There still seems to be a significant gap between what business leaders want and the capabilities of their human resources departments to deliver the learning programs and leadership development capabilities that enable and build talent.

With technology enabling a global market for jobs and people, organisations are in an unprecedented ‘war for talent’, requiring HR leaders to rethink how they attract, retain and reward employees. Add to this the need to have a ‘fully optimised workforce’ to combat disruption, and it is clear that organisations must put their people first.

Today’s market: To succeed with this highly diverse employee base, HR leaders need to reimagine the way they manage people and discover new ways to make themselves relevant. Although in general terms the supply of candidates does outstrip the demand of available jobs. These past 12 months at the Head of HR and HRD level has been busier than ever in our HR Practice. However, it is worth noting that we are retained to identify, evaluate and acquire those hard to find skills and experiences or those individuals with credentials in short supply; and are not always active in the market.

An example of some recent assignments Acquire Talent has been engaged on:


A question posed to me most weeks is: What does the modern day HR leader need to be aware of? As we see it, the demand for talent is ever evolving. The power dial in business is beginning to shift towards the employee. Workers in Australia and across the world are more diverse and more mobile, with some countries getting younger and others getting older. As employees become more autonomous, with many beginning to move to “the gig economy” and into a broader talent ecosystem, they are also becoming harder to engage and manage using traditional approaches.

Culture & Engagement – is still rated the most important issue overall. The culture and engagement challenge highlights the need for businesses and HR leaders to really understand their organisation’s culture and re-examine every HR and talent program they have to better engage and empower people.

Employees are customers/partners – A first step in changing the focus would be to view employees as customers or partners. To attract and grow employees to meet the challenges of new world of work – a world where the barriers between work and life are all but eliminated and employees are “always on” through mobile technology – organisations must create a culture, and thus an employment brand, that aligns with new values and the talent they want to attract.

Reinventing HR – One of the biggest issues is the need for HR to reskill itself. The capability gap between what businesses need and what the HR department can deliver is significant. The required change starts with the HR Executive. As this role becomes more demanding than ever, today’s senior HR leader must become even more innovative and business savvy. The leader needs to be able to bring the HR team together so it evolves into an integrated business function. Hence we are seeing more and more non-linear career pathways into senior HRD appointments.

Digital Geeks – Once designed primarily as a compliance function, today’s HR organisation must be agile, business-integrated, data-driven and deeply skilled in attracting, retaining and developing talent. In the “new world of work”, it is important that the HR function is able to build capabilities in consulting and project management, organisational change and analytical skills.

Performance management – A secret ingredient and one of the biggest needs in the new world of work is to rethink how organisations manage, evaluate and reward people. New, agile models for performance management are here and are a core component of the new focus on engagement, development, and leadership.

The modern day HR Executives position is often shaped by where the company is going—not where it has been. Both management and Boards want to make sure there is alignment between the company’s strategic priorities and what the incoming HR Executive will contribute to achieving those objectives.

Gavin’s expertise and passion lies in people & business growth. After studying Engineering, then Marketing and ongoing studies with the IECL, Gavin has created an extensive network and deep relationships with Executives whom have engaged him for both Search & Selection and human capital advice across Australia since 1998.