The HR team of 2030: 6 roles in HR you may not have heard of yet

Charlotte Nicol
Last updated on 4th August 2020
3 min read

In less than a decade, your organization could be made up of roles you haven’t even heard of yet.

The way we do our jobs has changed forever. Whether that’s in the face of social media or data analytics, or the dramatic increase in remote and flexible working as a result of the global pandemic. This decade, the growth of technology will continue as it did in 2010s – and potentially even more so. By the end of this decade you can expect HR to be completely unrecognizable compared to today.

One of the biggest changes you can expect is to see a number of new roles in every HR and People team.

The changing face of HR, our latest research report surveyed 500 HR and People professionals in mid-sized companies globally, before the pandemic. Our respondents told us some of the changes they expected to see in their organization, and the ones they were already making.

Their results have helped us to spot trends in the way HR is expected to change in the next decade.

“Unrecognizable” within 10 years

Let’s start from the top: the role of HR Director will be unrecognizable in less than a decade, according to the HR leaders we polled. It was one of our most surprising findings; a staggering 82% of them believed that to be true when we asked them.

So where’s the change coming from? 86% of respondents went on to say that HR Directors will need to upskill in several key areas, so that their day-to-day jobs will no doubt look completely different within the next decade. It’s inevitable that will be true for HR teams too.

Yet, that’s only scratching the surface when it comes to the many ways HR teams are expected to change. Here are six roles we think you can expect to see within HR teams in the next decade.

1. HR Data Scientist

Data, data, data. It’s easy for HR teams to be drowned in it if they don’t know what they’re looking for, but when a question needs answering, it’s invaluable.

42% of the HR and People professionals we surveyed told us they had already adopted data-driven People decisions in their organizations, and a further 41% were planning to adopt within the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 38% were using real-time HR data to drive decision-making with 51% looking to make this step up.

This means, over the next ten years, we should expect to see an incredible amount of People data collected and stored by major organizations.

As new ways of working—such as remote and flexible working—become more common, analyzing this vast amount of data will be essential. There’s doubt it will require the help of a professional – in this case, a data scientist who can spot trends and patterns within vast amounts of data.

2. HR Technology Lead

Does your HR and People team have the skills to stay on the cutting edge of HR technology?

43% of the HR professionals we surveyed said no. That’s despite the fact 50% of respondents said they were continuing to invest in HR technology.

This suggests many companies invest in HR technology without a dedicated specialist on board to oversee the implementation.

Owing to the HR technology growth predicted over the next decade, this will have to change – and companies will look to hire technology experts as leaders within their HR and People teams.

3. Head of Behavioral Science

We’ve already mentioned the vast amount of People data already being collected. While a data scientist can help to collect, store and analyze this data, it’ll be up to dedicated scientists to interpret it in order to drive behavioral changes within organizations.

With so much data available, a head of behavioral science’s position will no doubt need to straddle the line between technology and people.

They will certainly find no shortage of data: 40% of the HR leaders we asked said they were continuously collecting data about their employees’ performance, while 47% plan to start collecting it within a year.

4. Communications and Marketing Lead

There’s a striking disconnect between the perceived importance of marketing skills in HR and People teams, and how many actually had these skills.

Our research found that 73% thought the skills would be useful within three years, but only 30% of teams had already hired marketing professionals.

A marketing and communications expert could help your organization to acquire these staff through targeted campaigns – they may also find themselves responsible for managing company assets such as your website, blog and social media accounts.

5. Head of Creativity

Similar to the marketing lead, the head of creativity will be responsible for ensuring your organization’s HR and People team is perceived as innovative and forward-thinking, and that your company is an exciting and fulfilling place to work.

The head of creativity will need experience in creating campaigns using video, digital and perhaps other media.

They’ll also need to bring creative ideas for how to improve the employee experience at the company. Our panel agrees: 73% of HR leaders we surveyed said creativity will be an important skill within three years.

6. Head of Employee Wellbeing

In the 2010s, mental health and wellbeing at work became a huge conversation among HR and People professionals.

With stress and burnout costing organizations their top talent, and new ways of working – such as flexible and remote working – becoming increasingly popular in People-driven companies, we expect to see further growth in these areas.

Yet, only 37% of the HR and People professionals we asked said they had implemented a holistic wellness program in their organization, so there’s plenty of potential.

However, rather than go it alone, we believe organizations will need professionals who can take responsibility for overseeing the wellbeing of the whole workforce, making changes to the organization that benefit mental health and wellness.

What do you think?

What HR and People roles do you think will become essential over the next decade? Will your organization look to hire new key HR and People experts, or will you try to upskill your organization?

New HR skillsets are emerging in today’s changing world of work. Are you prepared? Explore the four essential skills HR teams will need for the future in the eBook.

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