Our annual snapshot of the people profession provides an up-to-date, evidence-based picture of practitioners’ experiences and challenges over the last year. We look at the external factors influencing the world of HR, from the aftermath of COVID-19 to the volatile labour market. This report demonstrates the key role that people professionals play – at the very heart of organisational response to these crises – through their willingness to upskill, create value and lead the agenda in an agile way. We look at future opportunities but also challenges for people teams and the personal impact that recent years have had on people professionals' wellbeing.

The report, produced in association with Workday, also provides an annual benchmark for the people profession, combined with a year-on-year overview. 


Summary of key findings

  • Skills development remains a strong focus post-pandemic: There has been a sustained level of upskilling and reskilling in the last year, with a slight increase in Ireland. A third of upskilling has been in response to an immediate business need, demonstrating how people teams are adapting to deal with changing priorities. Skills priorities are supporting line managers, facilitating flexible working, and developing organisational development and change management capabilities.
  • People professionals perceive their mental and physical health more negatively than the general workforce: In the UK, three in ten practitioners say that their mental and physical health is negatively impacted by work, especially for those who have a negative view of their career progression or who have less experience in their roles.
  • People teams remain positive about their valued contribution to their organisations: Practitioners generally feel that they work collaboratively to meet business needs and that their practices are aligned to organisational outcomes. However, more work needs to be done to ensure that people professionals feel properly recognised for the work that they do.
  • People teams operate in three main models: In the UK, people teams generally work in a business partnering model or as a single HR team. Teams in Ireland have a third model which outsources much of its people activity. While the UK teams operate fairly evenly across onsite, remote and hybrid models, Irish teams are more likely to work onsite.
  • The use of people data and analytics has grown since pre-pandemic levels: While this increase suggests that more organisations recognise the importance and value of people data, teams need to improve capability and remove technological barriers to use this more effectively.
  • The people profession is focusing on employee experience: Organisations are most commonly collecting information from leaving employees or focusing on company culture and values, but only a third do both. In this difficult labour market, data suggests that only two-fifths of organisations are prioritising employee experience within their core people strategy.

About the survey

The survey was conducted online with YouGov during April and May 2022. We surveyed in-house and independent people professionals working in HR, OD&D and L&D in the UK and Ireland.

By taking the pulse of the profession annually, we can make sure we're providing people professionals with the right tools and resources to not only thrive through change – but to shape it.

Download the report below

People Profession 2022: UK and Ireland survey report

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PDF document 1.4 MB

People Profession 2022: Executive summary

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PDF document 287.6 KB

People Profession 2022: Appendix

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Download a visual summary of the findings

People Profession 2022: UK infographic

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People Profession 2022: Ireland infographic

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