Covering eight regions across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, this survey report provides insights on current HR working practices across the world and people professionals’ perceptions of their careers and working lives.

Against a backdrop of unprecedented circumstances, including the aftermath of the global pandemic and its subsequent economic impact, we look at the effect on the profession, and the challenges and opportunities for the future world of work.

This new international report expands on existing data from our 2022 UK and Ireland report and uses additional, previously unpublished data to provide a truly international comparison. It analyses and compares what workforce priorities exist for organisations across the globe, what’s driving change, how people teams are operating and what their priorities are for improving capability. We also explore the sentiment of people professionals: how they perceive the strategic value of the profession, their own careers and how they are developing their skills to adapt to future ways of working.

By taking the pulse of the profession internationally, these findings – based on data collected in 2022 – allow us to understand regional priorities, and the nuances of people practice across our selected markets. This provides us with an informed view on how we can collaborate in a global world, develop professional capital within the industry and build HR functions that are future-fit across different regions and markets.

The CIPD recognises the importance of understanding the sentiment of the people profession globally. This report reflects our ongoing commitment and investment in developing our insights in this space.

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Report: People Profession 2022: International survey

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Executive summary: People Profession 2022: International survey

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Key learnings

Recruiting and retaining talent is a key priority

A quarter of our global sample cited this as a challenge for businesses, especially in the UK (30%), Ireland (26%) and European countries where economies are experiencing looming recessions.

Predictive data anticipates a decline in working-age populations and demographic changes that will impact on available talent, suggesting that recruitment challenges are likely to persist.

Related content: Hard-to-fill vacancies are prevalent and persistentHow to manage your talent

Flexible and hybrid working is the biggest driver of change

Flexible working continues to be the biggest lever of change for organisations (cited by 31% of our global sample). While UK, Ireland and European respondents said recruiting and retaining talent and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of employees were more challenging in a hybrid environment, respondents in the Middle East and North Africa found hybrid working had a positive influence on most aspects of HR delivery.

Related content: How to embed flexible working in your organisation

Economic change is impacting differently across regions

This is predominately affecting the UK and Ireland (with 26% and 34% of respondents citing this as a major driver of change respectively) – significantly more than the rest of Europe. It is also a dominant lever of change in the Middle East and North Africa regions, especially in Egypt (24%).

Digital transformation continues to impact all regions

Digital change – developing technology and digital skills – was cited as an important driver of change for 26% of our global sample. Digital HR and being hands-on with digital change will be key skills for people professionals in order to become future-fit. We found digital transformation to be a key trend in our People Profession 2030 research.

Related content: The role of people professionals in digital change

HR professional experience varies between regions

The UK and Italy had the most senior sample of HR professionals (with 40% and 39% of respondents having over 16 years of experience respectively). Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) had the greatest proportion of early-career stage respondents (37% of respondents had less than five years’ experience), most likely influenced by the younger working population in these regions. They were also more likely to outsource their HR functions.

Related content: The benefits and challenges of HR outsourcing

Skills development is the top enabler of career progression

Skills development is consistently recognised as the most important factor in advancing a career in HR, followed by manager support (48%) and professional qualifications/certification (47%).

Perceived barriers to advancement were seen as lack of self-confidence, organisational politics and lack of opportunities with current employer.

Related content: Information on Learning and DevelopmentCIPD membership: Join through studying a qualification

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