Looking Back at the HR Trends of 2019 image

Looking Back at the HR Trends of 2019

Staff Squared date icon13th December 2019

Tag iconOperations

It feels like we’ve blinked and we’re talking about the end of another year – and while it’s important to reflect on each year as much as the next, there’s something a bit extra special about bringing a close to 2019. Not only is it the end of another calendar cycle, but we’re about to ring in a brand new decade!

So without further ado, let’s jump right on in and look at the HR trends that have got businesses across the country talking over the last 12 months.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has continued to make a storm in the HR world this year. From chatbots to Computer-Assisted Technology (CAT), AI is at the top of pretty much everyone’s agenda. 

With that being said, it’s surprising that only 2% of UK Directors have introduced AI initiatives wide-scale and 36% have no plans at all to pursue AI initiatives in the next three years, according to a PwC survey.   

However, this isn’t stopping us from discussing what the future of work might look like with the availability of artificial intelligence. We’re already starting to see a shift from conversations around machine versus man, as companies are beginning to see new roles developing as AI evolves. 

Skill Mismatches

Employment might be at an all-time high, but there are some roles are still going unfilled as the skill gap continues to be an issue for many employers. In fact, a report from the beginning of the year highlighted that employers struggle to fill almost 69% of vacancies.

While you might jump straight to the conclusion that this issue stems from a basic lack of skills needed for the vacancies that prove difficult to fill, there’s actually another problem that employers are having to contend with. Candidates are struggling to effectively present their skills on paper, with around 85% failing to include the most desirable skill of ‘adaptability’ on their CV. 


Securing human capital data in the wake of the GDPR has continued to be a major issue for companies in 2019. Most HR teams see data privacy as a risk as they want to use personal data for decision-making purposes, but as a result of the GDPR regulations, they have to deal with even more restrictions than before. 

This means that companies are having to embed GDPR regulations into everything that they do. Because of these restrictions, HR professionals are being more transparent about their use of employee data which is helping them to build more trust with their staff – leading to employees being more willing to share their data and for it to be analysed. 

Generation Z

Raised by technology, ‘Generation Z’ have already begun to enter the working world. 2019 has seen an increased number of new discussions around how employers can best support this new workforce, and this is only going to continue into 2020 and the next few years to come. SO many companies are socially aware, culturally conscious, ready to learn, but to really be ready for ‘Gen Z’, employers need to start thinking about things like digital learning and searching for a work-life balance. 

Employee Engagement and Wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is an ongoing issue for employers and will certainly continue to be a key conversation point in companies moving into 2020. A recent Twitter Time to Change post revealed that only 24% of employees feel they could start a conversation about mental health at work. 

In addition to this, many employers are looking at new initiatives to promote a healthy work-life balance for their staff. Flexible working, health programs and ways to use technology to help teams stay connected but not overly connected to work are just a few of the things being adopted in workplaces. In fact, a study found that 70% of global office professionals work remotely at least once per week; making this more important than ever.

Technology Procurement

We’re living in a world now where technology is everything, and many companies are looking for more ways to automate their process – whether it’s to save time or to enhance productivity and communication amongst staff. 

One of the largest demands on software are internal HR systems which help employers to keep on top of absence management, appraisals and much more. Many of these solutions even adopt various apps and platforms that offer more use-case specific tools such as applicant tracking systems and an NPS survey, resulting in a massive ecosystem of technology.

With this said, there’s a large amount of upskilling required to help HR professionals to understand technology, what it can do, how to choose it and how to implement tools that are designed around the user. This has been a hot topic of discussion this year and will likely merge into 2020. 

Agile Workforces

More and more companies have been using their workforces in an agile way in 2019. Instead of hiring new staff, employers have been utilising their existing employees’ skills to fulfill their business needs, which in turn helps their staff to broaden their knowledge and experience. The return on investment is much better if you grow your own talent – so long as you can match opportunities with the resources you have available. 

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Lead Customer Support Agent - Staff Squared

Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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