Top Trends Impacting Human Resources, Finance & Sales
At M&B Search Group, we facilitate connections that build into lasting relationships within multiple industries that result in successful placements. We have our fingers on the pulse of the industries we serve, which helps us guide our clients and find the right talent to fill today’s needs and prepare for what’s ahead.
Three of the industries we specialize in — Human Resources, finance, and sales — have significantly transformed over the past few years, which can leave leaders and hiring managers wondering how to adapt and what to expect next. Trends in the workplace have changed. There are new challenges to overcome, but there are also new opportunities. In this post, we’ve outlined a few key trends and insights to inform your business and hiring decisions.
If you need help overcoming hiring challenges or want some guidance in your hiring strategies, learn more about who we are and how we can help here.
Top 3 Overall Trends:
Continued Technology Advances (Automation, Data Analytics)
Technology continues to advance, which changes workforce needs.
If we tried to list out every technology advancement that’s impacted our clients, this blog post would be a novel. But there are two main areas we see impacting all the industries we serve: automation and data analytics.
Automation is eliminating some positions, while making other employees gain efficiencies so they can shift their attention to other tasks. Software solutions that reduce human intervention and AI-powered applications are changing the way we work and the talent needed in the workforce.
While automation is helping run the machine, data is the driving force powering it. Data analytics continue to get more robust, and these insights are powering decisions both large and small. They are helping businesses work smarter, improve processes, and gain efficiencies.
Demand for Flexibility and Remote Work
The shift to remote and hybrid work models is one of the biggest business changes to come out of the pandemic. As people started to return to the office, it became clear that many preferred the flexibility that working from home offers. And it can be good for employers, too:
- 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home (and a two-year study proved this to be true).
- 74% of workers say they are less likely to leave a company that has the option to work remotely.
- Companies that allow remote work can earn an extra $2,000 in profit per remote worker
Some leaders are showing resistance to this shift, and could be losing out on top talent if they don’t offer a flexible option. By 2028, it’s predicted that 73% of all teams will include remote workers. Not all positions can work remotely, and there are downsides to this trend. However, the demand for flexibility is high, and companies who want to attract and retain talent must consider the positives and negatives of offering a work-from-home option.
Talent shortages are affecting nearly every business. The pandemic delayed education/training, increased the need for childcare, and changed industries. Plus, Boomers are retiring, creating a large gap in the workforce.
There are many ways companies are addressing these shortages, and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. We work with our clients to help overcome the talent shortage challenge in a way that makes the most sense to their business needs.
HR Trends & In-Demand Jobs
Focus on Employee Wellbeing
The pandemic took a toll on workers, and many employers are stepping up to support their needs. A 2021 survey found that over 68% of senior HR administrators rated employee wellbeing and mental health as a top priority. Some areas they are focusing on include:
- Physical health
- Mental health and emotional wellbeing
- Financial fitness
- Safe workplace
- Healthy culture
Ensuring employees are happy and healthy can help improve employee retention and contribute to a healthy work environment. Companies are in need of HR professionals who have experience or can be upskilled to lead the charge in these health initiatives.
DEI a Top Priority
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts are a top priority to most HR professionals. Nearly 80% of companies plan on increasing the DEI budget in 2022 to address bias and discrimination in the workplace.
DEI efforts are organization-wide, but HR is often tasked with providing inclusion training to employees, finding diverse job candidates, and tracking DEI metrics. HR professionals need DEI proficiency to understand core DEI concepts and best practices, and these skills — while highly desired — are lacking in the industry. There’s a need to upskill HR professionals to help them succeed in this high-priority area.
Training Existing Employees to Fill Gaps
Technology advances and a worker shortage have led to an increase in training and upskilling employees. A recent survey showed that the upskilling demand grew to 38% in 2020.
Many HR professionals are turning to online training solutions, and there are a lot of options out there. Using online learning can rapidly build employee capacity while accommodating remote employees.
Not only does upskilling help close skills gaps, but it can also save on hiring costs and improve employee morale and retention. It solves a lot of issues present in the workforce, making it easy to see why investing in employee education is trending.
Fastest-Growing HR Job Titles
- Diversity and Inclusion Manager
- Talent Acquisition Specialist
- Chief Human Resources Officer
Finance Trends & In-Demand Jobs
Technology is Creating a Need for New Skillsets
Innovations like AI and blockchain technology are affecting the industry. This will likely impact demand on future finance and accounting skillsets, creating opportunity for existing professionals to upskill or new professionals to train accordingly.
What skills are needed? A blend of technology, strategy, and traditional accounting/finance. A well-balanced team needs all three to guide them into the future.
Demand for Accounting Talent Remains High
In August 2021, the financial industry had the lowest unemployment rate of any sector in the country at just 3.2%. Companies are struggling to hire accounting talent due to a few factors:
- Many accounting students delayed their CPA exam during the pandemic, creating fewer job candidates
- Fewer students are studying accounting
- Accounting professionals are struggling with burnout because of the hiring challenges
- Baby boomers are retiring
Employers need to focus on hiring and retention strategies to secure their accounting talent and attract new job candidates.
Accounting Functions are being Outsourced
Companies are outsourcing more services, including accounting, because it can increase profitability and allow them to focus more on their other resources. Eight out of 10 small businesses said they planned to outsource in 2021 — and we anticipate this trend will continue well into the future.
For professionals, this means there are more opportunities at outsourced accounting service providers like CPA and consulting firms — one of the fastest-growing areas in the field. For companies who don’t outsource, it may be time to examine this possibility and consider the pros and cons (it’s not right for everyone!).
Fastest-Growing Finance Job Titles
- Analyst Relations Specialist
- Head of Financial Planning
- Mergers and Acquisitions Manager
Sales Trends & In-Demand Jobs
Customer Experience is Paramount
More companies are investing in the customer experience, or CX. CX is more than just customer service — it’s the entire customer journey; every touchpoint between the customer and the brand.
Customers expect a seamless, frictionless experience, and they’re willing to pay for it. Forty-two percent of customers would pay more for a great customer experience.
New technologies are making it possible to create amazing experiences at scale, but person-to-person interactions remain critical to the customer journey. We’re seeing sales teams who are able to leverage technology while keeping human-to-human connection at the heart of their efforts find the most success.
Incorporating social media channels has long been used in marketing, but we’re seeing an increased focus on its use in sales. More sales teams are leveraging LinkedIn to build strong, authentic connections, shifting some focus away from traditional sales channels.
The same sales skills are needed, there is just an additional need for some social media savvy, especially LinkedIn. These skills can be recruited or taught to help sales professionals meet prospects where they spend time.
Deals Have Gone Digital
Gone are the hectic days of sales professionals hopping on planes to close deals. According to the Gartner Future of Sales report, 80% of interactions between sales teams and B2B buyers will happen in digital spaces by 2025. Intuition has been replaced by data, and video calls have replaced handshakes.
This opens opportunities for more remote sales professionals and increases the need for online sales skills.
Fastest-Growing Sales Job Titles
- Business Development Representative
- Enterprise Account Director
- Head of Sales Operations
- Strategic Sales Specialist
Find the Talent You Need to Achieve Your Goals
Need help overcoming hiring challenges? At M&B Search Group we locate, evaluate and place the specialized, impactful talent your company needs to realize your organizational goals. We find the candidates who meet your distinct needs and fit your culture with our thorough and transparent process. Our industry knowledge and a carefully built talent network are designed to build lasting connections. Direct hire or contract placement, we are committed to supporting our clients in their search for exceptional talent.
If you are ready for a unique search firm that makes you the priority, contact us today.
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