insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog header

Insights Show HR Roles Are Evolving With Employee Expectations

Insights Show HR Roles Are Evolving With Employee Expectations

As organisations adapt to meet the evolving needs of their workforce, the role of HR continues to transform. From traditional HR generalist roles to specialised positions addressing areas such as wellbeing and technology, the HR landscape is evolving to align with the needs of modern workplaces. 

At Hive, we wanted to explore insights into the evolving landscape of HR roles in response to shifting employee expectations so we can help organisations understand how to provide the ultimate employee experience and retain their talent. To do that, we’ve turned to UK HR market data from Honch to understand what types of HR roles are in demand? Do they align with common themes we hear? To discover this we’ve delved into the top and bottom recruited roles in HR, highlighting areas of focus and improvement for organisations. 

So join us as we explore the importance of strategic hiring decisions in areas such as diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, technology adoption, employer branding, and employee wellbeing to create inclusive, engaging, and supportive work environments that attract and retain top talent, ultimately driving long-term success and organisational growth.

Top 5 recruited role categories

So what about the types of HR roles that are being hired for? What’s the data saying about the types of HR hires organisations are making?

Looking at the data we found some interesting insights into hiring and promotion trends in the field.

insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog

The HR generalist is still in demand

HR generalist

The highest number of new HR hires is observed in the “General HR” category, with a significant percentage (40.18%) of all new hires. This suggests a strong demand for professionals who possess generalist HR skills and can handle a wide range of HR functions within organisations.

In terms of promotions, the data shows that the “General HR” category also leads in this aspect, comprising 35.04% of all HR promotions. This could imply that professionals with a broad understanding of HR functions are often recognised and promoted within organisations for their contributions.

However, with today’s evolving workplaces, it’s important to consider the increasing complexity of HR functions and the diverse needs of employees. It may be unfair to expect HR generalists to handle every aspect of HR management alone. 

While the demand for generalist HR professionals is evident, it’s essential to recognise that specialised roles such as wellbeing officers, talent and retention officers, and diversity and inclusion specialists can play a crucial role in ensuring ultimate employee satisfaction and organisational success. Looking at our HR benchmarks over the last 12 months, topics such as wellbeing and balance emerge as themes that employees are actively engaging with and would expect within their organisation. This suggests a need for organisations to look to hire specialists in these areas to manage this important aspect of employee needs. 

This acknowledgment for more specialist roles reflects an evolving HR landscape where organisations are embracing specialised roles to address specific needs and enhance overall employee experience.

Acquiring talent is high on the list of priorities

HR roles are evolving

Similarly, the “Talent Recruitment” category also accounts for a substantial portion (19.06%) of new HR hires. This indicates a continued focus on talent acquisition and recruitment strategies, highlighting the importance of attracting and retaining top talent in today’s competitive job market.

This substantial investment in talent acquisition isn’t just a passing phase; it’s a clear indication that organisations are serious about building winning teams. After all, the strength of any organisation lies in the calibre of its people, right?

What’s more is the prominence of the “Talent Recruitment” category suggests a proactive approach to talent management, where organisations prioritise building a strong talent pipeline and fostering a positive employer brand. By investing in recruitment efforts, organisations aim to position themselves as employers of choice, thereby attracting high-calibre candidates who can contribute to their growth and success.

The findings from our Hive 2023 State of Employee Retention Report echo the importance of talent acquisition and retention highlighted in our current analysis. Our findings emphasise the significance of prioritising employee retention and talent attraction through various strategies aligned with organisational goals and values. By investing in employees and creating a thriving workplace, organisations can enhance retention rates and foster a culture where talent is motivated to stay and advance their careers.

Overall, the volume of talent recruitment roles reflects a strategic commitment to securing top talent and driving organisational excellence. In today’s dynamic business environment, organisations recognise that talent is a key differentiator and are therefore investing significantly in recruitment initiatives to remain competitive and future-ready.

Key role categories in HR driving organisational excellence

insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog image 4

A noteworthy observation from the data is the significant presence of the “Operations” category in both new HR hires (11.17%) and promotions (16.63%). This trend suggests a growing emphasis on HR operations management and efficiency within organisations. Professionals in this category are evidently playing a critical role in driving operational excellence and streamlining HR processes to enhance organisational productivity.

The data also highlights the substantial contributions of “Learning & Development” and “Payroll” roles in the HR landscape, albeit with slightly lower percentages compared to other categories. The prominence of these roles underscores the vital role of employee training and development initiatives, as well as effective payroll management, in the overall HR function. It suggests that organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of investing in employee growth and ensuring accurate and efficient payroll administration, and therefore need a HR specialist to manage this. 

In essence, the data indicates a robust demand for professionals with diverse skill sets in the HR domain. From general HR management to talent acquisition, operations, learning and development, and payroll administration, organisations are seeking individuals capable of handling various HR functions effectively. This underscores the multifaceted nature of HR roles and emphasises the critical role that HR plays in driving organisational success and fostering employee satisfaction.

Bottom 5 recruited role categories

If we now take a look at the insights into the bottom 5 role categories in HR hiring trends, we can shed light on areas where organisations may need to focus their attention to enhance various aspects of their HR functions.

insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog image 5

Is equity, diversity and inclusion impacted by other roles?

insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog image 6

The “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” (EDI) category exhibits relatively low percentages of new HR hires (1.99%), promotions (2.37%), and total job moves (2.15%). This suggests a potential gap in prioritising diversity and inclusion roles and initiatives during the hiring process. However, the higher percentages of promotions and total job moves indicate a growing emphasis on internal talent development and advancement opportunities. Perhaps organisations are seeing a need for roles that specialise in initiatives such as Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and are creating the roles to support this. 

Promoting from within can cultivate a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees, a key engagement theme consistently highlighted in our employee engagement benchmarks over the past 12 months. This fosters higher levels of engagement and retention.

In summary, while the low percentages of new hires within the EDI category may indicate a gap in diversity and inclusion efforts during recruitment, the focus on promotions and total job moves suggests a commitment to internal talent development around this important topic, which could ultimately lead to greater workforce diversity and inclusivity in the long run.

Don’t know where to start with EDI?


To gain insights into whether your organisation needs to delve deeper into equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) or should prioritise hiring for such roles, employee voice platforms like Hive can be invaluable. Through surveys, always-on listening, and the expertise of People Scientists, Hive can provide actionable insights tailored to your workplace. By leveraging survey data, organisations can identify areas for improvement and drive meaningful change in their approach to EDI.

Is there an oversight in employee engagement and experience?

oversight in employee engagement and experience?

In the “Employee Engagement & Experience” category, the data shows similarly low percentages of new HR hires (1.66%) but higher percentages of promotions (3.34%) and total job moves (2.35%). This suggests a potential oversight in prioritising initiatives to enhance employee engagement and experience when considering hiring for HR roles. However, the data suggests more of a focus on recognising and rewarding employees through promotions and job moves. This indicates a proactive approach by organisations to foster a positive work environment and culture of engagement and growth, despite potential shortcomings in initial hiring strategies for dedicated engagement and experience roles. 

At Hive, we know that boosting employee engagement and improving the employee experience can reap tonnes of benefits for organisational performance, culture, processes, the list goes on. Just take a look at some of our customers who have achieved success by increasing engagement, or experience (depending on their goals) through Hive’s employee voice platform:

Employee engagement

Employee Experience

In summary, while the data indicates a potential oversight in specialised HR roles  to enhance employee engagement and experience, the slightly higher percentage of promotions and job moves reflects focus on reward and recognition through career development to foster a positive work environment and culture of engagement. So this type of role isn’t being totally disregarded. 

There are definitely strides that can be taken to improve the volume of engagement and employee experience HR hires given its importance in the workplace, though this could crossover to more generalist HR roles. It’s important to note that these are key drivers for retaining and acquiring top talent within your organisation.

Are you forgetting about AI?

Group 2333

The “Technology & Insights” category exhibits low percentages of new HR hires (1.06%), promotions (2.09%), and total job moves (1.48%). This suggests a potential gap in prioritising roles related to technology adoption and data analytics within HR. Despite this, there is a marginally higher focus on promotions and job moves suggesting slightly more emphasis on leveraging technology and data to drive HR efficiency and decision-making processes, which could contribute to organisational growth and performance over time.

However, it’s important for employers to consider the implications of these findings, particularly with the rise of AI in HR. As technology continues to advance, there will no doubt be policies and ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in HR processes. Organisations may need to evaluate how to effectively integrate AI tools while ensuring fairness, transparency, and compliance with regulations, and whether this is a role of its own. 

We could expect to see HR roles within the technology category grow in the future. 

Reassessing priorities for employer branding and wellbeing initiatives

employer branding and wellbeing initiatives

As we delve into the bottom of the list, the “Employer Brand” and “Wellbeing” categories present concerning insights. Despite their low percentages of new HR hires, promotions, and total job moves, the data from the “Employer Brand” category suggests a lack of emphasis on strategic brand management and employer branding roles in HR. 

Organisations need to reassess their approach to strategic brand management and employer branding initiatives to address the concerning insights revealed by the data. This may involve investing in more resources, people and effort into building and maintaining a positive employer brand image, which plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining top talent. By prioritising employer branding initiatives during focus-roles, organisations can strengthen their position in the competitive job market and create a more appealing work environment for prospective and current employees. For instance, at Hive, we present customers who are making strides to creating thriving places to work with an Employee Voice Certified Badge. This shows potential future employees that this workplace is invested in making workdays great. Securing such recognition is something a role revolved around employer branding would encompass. 

Similarly, in the “Wellbeing” category, the data reflects minimal percentages of new HR hires, which is alarming given the increasing importance of employee wellbeing in today’s workplace. Wellbeing is no longer just a buzzword; it should be a key focus for organisations to ensure the satisfaction and health of their staff at work. The fact that wellbeing roles are at the bottom of the list for roles hired in HR indicates a concerning oversight in prioritising employee wellness initiatives during the hiring process.

Nevertheless, the higher percentages of promotions and total job moves within the wellbeing category imply an effort to recognise and support employee wellbeing initiatives through existing staff. This focus on internal mobility and career advancement opportunities in wellbeing roles could potentially enhance overall employee satisfaction and organisational performance. However, addressing the low percentage of new hires in this category should be a priority for organisations looking to create a workplace culture that prioritises employee wellbeing roles.

Overall, the analysis of bottom 5 role categories in hiring trends highlights potential areas of focus and improvement for organisations in terms of diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and experience, technology adoption, employer branding, and employee wellbeing. By strategically addressing these areas with specialised HR roles, organisations can create more inclusive, engaging, and supportive work environments that attract and retain top talent, driving long-term success and organisational growth.

Navigating hiring trends for organisational success

insights show hr roles are evolving with employee expectations blog image 17

In conclusion, our analysis reveals both opportunities and challenges in today’s HR hiring landscape. To thrive, organisations must prioritise roles and initiatives in employer branding, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, and wellbeing. Leveraging employee feedback is essential to understand the significance of these roles and their impact on workplace dynamics. Feedback from your people can pave the way to understanding key areas for improvement so you can strategically hire for roles that can manage, maintain and address these. 

To navigate these trends effectively, book a demo with Hive. Our platform and team offer expert support tailored to your organisation’s needs, helping you create a thriving workplace where both employees and the organisation can excel.


Table of Contents

Related posts
top 40 survey questions blog header

Top 40 Survey Questions HR Leaders Are Asking Their Employees

Read more
employing hr experts leads to improved engagement and performance blog header

Employing HR Experts Leads to Improved Engagement and Performance

Read more
Header Hive Benchmarking blog

The Importance of HR Benchmarking

Read more