The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

HR Departments in Battle for Candidates with Analytical Skills


HR roles require some of the most varied skillsets including communication, sensitivity and intelligence, according to the Reed HR State of Skills research.

For its interactive State of Skills tool on, Reed HR analysed 10 years of data from Google and O*NET to find out what roles, skills and tools are driving the industry. According to the data, interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills are still vital to working in the industry.

However, compared to their colleagues in areas like marketing and finance, the data showed that HR professionals have to use a wider range of skills in different situations, rather than applying the same skillset every day.

New roles, new opportunities

The level of search interest for HR roles reflects the increased importance of the HR team in providing commercial insight to the wider organisation. Two of the biggest moves have been associated with newer established roles such as HR business partner and HR analyst.  As companies look to gain from the contribution such roles can make to the business, they have understandably seen significant growth in the levels of interest over the past five years, with a 51 per cent and 27 per cent increase in interest for HR business partner and HR analyst respectively.

Chris Adcock, director at Reed HR, says:

“It is clear that companies are taking a more holistic overview of their human resource structures. To complement the traditional ‘human’ skills of the HR department, data analysis is now becoming an essential part of the role for businesses to keep ahead of the competition. This means interest in HR analysts has risen.

“And there are some very innovative ways that people are using data and AI in HR and recruitment processes. We’ve always found that these are to inform decisions and find the best roles for people rather than to replace those in HR.”

Companies need to keep an eye on software trends

The research conducted also investigated the tools used by HR professionals to enhance their performance and bring success in these roles.

Internal communications managers have seen an explosion in the number of tools to help them organise and communicate quickly at scale. Google Drive has surpassed Dropbox in recent years for online document sharing and storage. Within messaging apps, Slack has risen over time to surpass Yammer.

Interestingly, HR being asked to provide and utilize business analytics have coincided with a rise in interest for tools which have historically been confined to the technology sector such as Tableau, a data visualisation tool.

Chris Adcock continues:

“Our analysis further demonstrates that companies need to keep on top of software and tool developments to help their teams do their jobs. The increasing presence of more analytical roles within HR functions means a different approach is being taken and tools traditionally seen in the tech sector are entering the HR worker’s toolkit to provide the support required for the roles to perform at their best.  If companies want to extract the most value from the trend towards a more analytical approach to HR, employees must be given the tools to do so and this means keeping on top of tech developments going forward.”

To find out more about Reed HR, please visit