Sep 8, 2005

The coming crunch for HR Talent

I think the one concern that ought to make CEOs stay up at night is not the ability to attract and retain talent but the fact that there are not enough HR professionals to attract, develop, motivate and retain those elusive star performers.

I read somewhere once that the BPO industry alone needs 150,000 HR professionals in India over the next few years. With the fast growing insurance and retail segments in the Indian industry set to explode and heavy core sector industry also booming, we are going to see a lot of people fighting for good HR people.

What is more important is that the vast majority of HR jobs are held by people with either a Industrial Psychology background or from Social Work backgrounds. With the increased focus on measuring HR as a "business unit" and moving away from the "personnel-welfare" tilt of earlier HR , there is going to be a dire shortage of management students who have majored in HR. As Wayne Brockbank says "HR people shouldn't love HR only, they should fall in love with the business".

The nation produces less than 10,000 HR MBAs, so where will the others come from?

I have started seeing a trend of business managers moving into HR roles and that is going to have a profound impact on what HR is and what it will be. Of course, there is the reverse movement also. Around 10% of my HR classmates have moved into line business and I am sure that if they move back into HR that's going to be further enrichment.

Looks like "the best of times, and the worst of times" to come in the near future!