The HR UK Market Analysis

As part of the series of insights around our 2023 HR Salary Survey, we have analysed the current UK HR hiring market to understand the trends, challenges and opportunities for the year ahead. Read on for our UK market insights and overview.


HR stats infographics

Our analysis of market data and trends indicates that hiring demand within the HR sector is still extremely high, with talent proving difficult to find. Equally as expected, the gender split within the sector remains weighted towards females.

Interestingly, however, the median tenure for the industry has remained relatively high. There are a number of possible reasons why this might be. For one, it could be that the nature of the HR sector itself means that there is a decreased inclination to move roles. As individuals within HR and operations generally have the capacity within their roles to have an impact on business culture and policies, they will have the ability to influence the changes they want to see in their workplace. Equally, they will be aware of the fact that the challenges they face within their current role, namely challenges posed by the pandemic, will be affecting all businesses in a similar manner, so switching positions is unlikely to alleviate this pressure. This, coupled with their close alignment to the role of staff retention within their company, could contribute to increased workplace satisfaction and a lack of motivation to move roles.

Equally, with the arrival of the pandemic came the need for rapid change in the role of HR and their responsibilities. Policies, working practices, and business norms had to be transformed overnight, and HR and operations teams were at the heart of these changes. But, in spite of the pressure that the pandemic placed on HR professionals, it also shed light on the vitality of the role of HR within businesses. This could also contribute to the lack of job movement in the sector. Another possible theory is that the ‘great reshuffle’ that the majority of industries saw over the previous year hasn’t been felt within the HR sector as of yet. A lack of major salary rises for roles in the sector could be contributing to a higher median tenure.


Top Locations

Although London, unsurprisingly, remains the largest employer for HR professionals, the city also has some of the lowest growth within the top 10 locations. This could be a result of flexible working practices and remote working opportunities becoming increasingly commonplace post-pandemic, with work-life balance becoming a key priority for the majority of professionals. Equally, many professionals are beginning to realise they don’t need to be located within the areas that have traditionally been considered as more ‘established’ in order to obtain the salary or quality of work they desire.

Interestingly, Glasgow and Liverpool are both seeing the same level of growth, but they also currently have low demand. This indicates that, although they have seen a lot of growth in the past year, the hiring demand seems to have plateaued. Conversely, Birmingham have seen 5% growth year on year but are still seeing a high demand, making them the only area within the top 10 where growth and demand levels are being maintained.

London Area 36796 (2% increase) 1,290 Very high
Manchester Area 5,539 (3% increase) 204 Very high
Greater Leeds Area 3,877 (2% increase) 147 High
Greater Glasgow Area 2,782 (5% increase) 56 Low
Birmingham 2,316 (5% increase) 126 Very high
Greater Bristol Area 2,223 (4% increase) 75 High
Greater Liverpool Area 2,111 (5% increase) 68 Low
Greater Edinburgh Area 1,905 (2% increase) 48 Moderate
Greater Sheffield Area 1,809 (5% increase) 64 Moderate
Greater Oxford Area 1,729 (2% increase) 75 High

Top Companies

The main companies that are hiring the bulk of HR staff in the industry come as no surprise, being that the larger corporations will naturally require higher levels of staff. It could be the case that the NHS having to rely more heavily on contractors more so than permanent staff over the previous year or so, means in turn having to rely more on operational staff internally and ensuring sufficient policies are in place to accommodate these changes.

It is equally unsurprising that companies such as Network Rail, Morrisons and Sainsburys have seen a decrease in their growth, as the after-effects of the pandemic have likely seen a decrease in face-to-face positions and decreased travel. Equally, Amazon seeing an increase for the same reason is natural, given the general population’s increasing reliance on delivery services and the increased appetite for these.

NHS 616 (8% increase)
Amazon 411 (22% increase)
Sainsbury’s 340 (6% decrease)
BT 331 (5% decrease)
BAE Systems 283 (3% decrease)
Babcock International Group 241 (0% increase)
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 238 (9% increase)
Morrisons 238 (12% decrease)
Network Rail 238 (1% decrease)
Deloitte 233 (1% increase)

Job Titles

Even though the total number of Junior Advisors remains low, we’ve seen the highest level of growth in this title. This could potentially indicate that there is a need to bring people in at a more junior level. Equally, the growth of the Recruitment Advisor role could indicate that companies have started to address the issue of HR professionals being forced to take on the role of recruiter. The growth of the International Human Resources Manager title is also interesting; this could potentially be attributed to the increase of remote-working and remote teams, with companies looking to centralise their teams now that more people are working remotely and in a wide variety of locations.

Interestingly, even though Human Resources Manager is the most common title in the market, it does not make the top 10 for growing roles. This could potentially indicate that there is an increasing diversity of HR roles on the market. Moreover, Learning and Development roles haven’t made the top 10 list at all, even though the title of Learning and Development Manager still appears on the top 10 list for most common titles in the market. Perhaps this could be indicative of the shift to reliance on online learning and development solutions and outsourcing these externally in light of the increased popularity of remote-working, in order to provide a cohesive learning experience for the entire workforce. Equally, it could simply be that Learning and Development, whilst still a stable role, has not been a priority growth area for the majority of businesses in the current market.

Most Popular Titles
Human Resources Manager 29,309 23%
Human Resources Business Partner 17,380 14%
Human Resources Advisor 15,666 12%
Head of Human Resources 12,691 10%
Human Resources Assistant 9,479 7%
Human Resources Director 8,270 6%
Recruitment Manager 7,535 6%
Learning and Development Manager 3,766 3%
Head of Recruitment 3,382 3%
Senior Human Resources Business Partner 3,218 3%
Fastest Growing Titles
Junior Human Resources Advisor 33% 69
International Human Resources Manager 16% 93
Recruitment Advisor 14% 2,929
Associate Director Human Resources 12% 331
Head of Recruitment 10% 3,382
Senior Human Resources Assistant 8% 309
Senior Human Resources Advisor 7% 2,569
Regional Human Resources Director 7% 94
Global Head Human Resources 7% 521
Head of Human Resources 7% 12,691

Common Skills

According to data from HR Talent Insights, these are the top 10 most common skills that HR Professionals across the UK region as a whole have listed on their profiles, as well as a breakdown of the number of job posts which include or request these skills.

Human Resources (HR) 81,524 64% 3,364
Recruiting 66,429 52% 1,983
Performance Management 45,247 35% 865
Employee Relations 42,870 33% 1,526
HR Management 38,278 30% 504
Employee Engagement 36,438 28% 562
HR Policies 32,680 26% 562
Talent Management 32,085 25% 506
Labor and Employment Law 22,677 18% 1,291
Personnel Management 22,460 18% 16

Education & Institutions

The dominance of CIPD qualifications, as well as ICS Learn and Avado’s presence so near the top of the list, indicates an ongoing dedication within the industry to continual learning and development. Equally, the dominance of these online learning platforms could also connect to a lack of growth within the Learning & Development title, as it could indicate that companies are choosing to outsource to external education platforms to provide that consistent learning experience for remote staff.

CIPD Qualifications 4,524
The Manchester Metropolitan University 1,824
University of Westminster 1,760
ICS Learn 1,530
Acvado 1,527
The Open University 1,473
London Metropolitan University 1,404
Kingston University 1,369
University of West London 1,357
Middlesex University 1,325

Interestingly, when comparing recent graduates to the professional body in the industry as a whole, we can see that more people have chosen to stay on at university in order to obtain a masters degree. This could be indicative of a reluctance to head straight into the world of work, perhaps due to the instability of the current jobs climate and the difficulty many are facing in securing a position. Or, perhaps because so many people have obtained a Bachelor-level degree now, new graduates will need to obtain a masters degree in order to stand out.

Infographic showing the highest degree attained differentiated by recent grands and total professionals with yellow background


With the hiring market showing no sign of slowing down, the next 12 months are set to be just as busy as the previous ones have been. But, with the shortage of talent continuing to impact ability to hire, HR businesses need to consider their offering and the value they can provide to potential new hires who are spoiled for choice of opportunities.

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