who took part

About the Survey


Respondents.  A comprehensive study of the HR community


Countries. From Saudi Arabia to Sweden


Different job titles. From HR Consultant to Head of HR

Key Highlights

What you need to know

You’re hired!

Recruitment is the most important issue the board wants HR to address (29% feel this is a top three issue). Developing leadership capability and employee engagement are the next most important.

Time to perform

There has been a big jump in organisations implementing performance management programmes (a jump from 25% to 36%).

It’s all about the brand

70% of HR respondents listed ‘building an employer brand’ as very important when it comes to recruitment, making it the single most important thing to do when hiring.

Non-human resources

Over a quarter (26%) of HR professionals already have their workforce planning impacted by AI and automation.

Taking control

Over half of HR departments (56%) say it is more important for HR to do more for the business, rather than empower the business to do more HR: a swing of 9% since 2016.

The direct line

39% of organisations are hiring their staff directly, the highest figure for five years. Recruitment agencies are focusing on adding value, and dealing with complexity.

Is image everything?

On the whole, HR is satisfied with how it’s seen by the business (62%), but this figure has stagnated over the past three years.

Your flexible friends

Organisations are increasing their use of non-employee labour. Currently the proportion of organisations with 20% or more of their workforce as non-employee labour is 31%; this is expected to rise to over 40% within five years.

Does the board value HR?

52% believe HR is very important to the board: good news for half of HR people, but this figure hasn’t changed much since last year, and it still leaves almost half who feel there is more to do.

One of the most comprehensive Global HR Surveys

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Welcome Letter

Growth. Change. Uncertainty

Human resources professionals are used to change, they see it all around them. Whether it’s working with the board on a new growth strategy, or helping shape the organisation’s structure to compete in an increasingly competitive world, HR are a key part of getting businesses from A to B.

But the world is also changing. Digital innovation, shifting consumer patterns in the global economy, the increasing need for organisations to have a purpose in society, even political uncertainty, are affecting organisations in ways they never have before.

In one of our other globally recognised studies – the Harvey Nash CIO Survey – we report that almost half of organisations are investing in digital transformation strategies. And no function is more affected by, or so intrinsically involved in this, than Human Resources.

This year’s Harvey Nash HR Survey shines a light on this all. Now in its eighth year, and reflecting the views of over 800 HR leaders across the world, this report shows how HR is leading the way in helping organisations adapt and change for the future. It also shows that there is more work to do, as HR looks to gain more support and influence on the board, as well as capitalise on the ever expanding opportunities, and challenges, of digital.

But one thing is for sure; there has never been a more exciting to be in HR.

Welcome to the 2018 HR Survey. I hope you find it valuable in your business and career planning.

Albert Ellis, CEO