2018 Human Resource Trends

Trends in Human Resources in 2018

March 2018

2018 Human Resource Trends

2018 Human Resource Trends

All aspects of our lives have trends. Food, fashion, colours, cars. You name it. So of course, the human resources world is no exception. With there being HR trends of both policy and practice and the profession. This blog covers some 2018 Human Resource Trends.

In this January 2018 article for CIPHR.Com, key UK HR trends, Professor Chris Rowley from Kellogg College, Oxford gives his run down of five key areas that HR professionals should be alert to in the coming months.

He lists:

  1. Brexit – the full article divides this into two aspects

a. Migrant workers

The question being around shortages and the implications to different sectors of that. Might this encourage management to bite the bullet and either offer better pay or invest in labour and training

b. Relocation of financial services jobs

Here Professor Rowley asks to what extent is some bank rhetoric concerning UK job losses reflected in reality.

2. Pay

a. Gender pay gaps

b. Levels

3. The gig economy and zero hours contracts

4. Technology

5. Productivity – Professor Rowley connects this to all his other factors stating it as the most important HR area. He points out the need for UK plc to make efforts in developing the Nirvana of high employment as well as high productivity and GDP per head in the manner of Germany.

So that’s a brief summary of Chris Rowley’s 2018 HR trends to watch for.

Attitudes towards Maternity

In March 2018, People Management published an article on the subject of HR challenging archaic attitudes towards maternity. As they point out, a recent EHRC survey demonstrated surprising views on working mothers, pregnant women and those on maternity leave. In the article Hannah King outlines what HR professionals can do. She states that:

Sex and pregnancy and maternity are two of nine ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the Equality Act 2010. Crucially, under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer:

  • To treat a woman unfavourably because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy.


  • Show disfavour to a woman because she is on maternity leave. Or because she  either wants to take maternity leave or is seeking to do so. 


  • Nor can you treat a job applicant or employee less favourably than others because of their sex.

Yet employers flout the law

Yet it seems some employers continue to flout the law. Recent research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reports employers asking female applicants about their parental condition or plans to have children. When such questions as these are asked, and the applicant is not then offered the job, there is potential for a discrimination claim under the Equality Act.

The article’s advice to employers is to challenge the kinds of attitudes and beliefs the EHRC research unearthed.

Gagging clauses

Also published by People Management in MARCH 2018, is an article covering the banning of gagging clauses in sexual harassment cases. The EHRC reports on ‘truly shocking’ evidence of workplace misconduct and calls for legal duty on employers to prevent wrongdoing.  

A key part of the EHRC’s recommendation is the introduction of legislation to make any future confidentiality clauses void.

‘In future’, said the report, ‘ such clauses should only be used at the employee’s request – aside from in exceptional circumstances.

Now to look at what Forbes has to say on the latest HR trends. They said that, 2017, saw the HR industry do a great deal of soul searching on the handling of culture and performance issues within companies.

Josh Millet, writing for Forbes, predicts that 2018 will see another noticeable internal shift – but this time with the focus on technology. On how you can use it to find and connect people, to engage people and even to replace people. And then what to do when that happens.

As Millet points out: ‘For years, technology has acted as a tool to help with day-to-day tasks, but the focus in 2018 will be technology as a way of life in the workplace. These are the five biggest trends I see coming to HR in the next year, and they all involve technology:

The top five 2018 Human Resource Trends involving technology

  1. Passive candidates: The time was when this involved sifting through CVs on career’s websites. Social media has changed all that. It’s now easier than ever it was to make contact with candidates.

In similar style, you can splash through talent pools via searchable hashtags or sub-forums etc.

2.  Remote workforces: Working virtually – from home, coffee shops or co-working spaces is a growing trend both here and in the United States. A notable drive here is VPN technology. The VPN system makes remote access, well accessible. With that comes the ability to recruit across the globe. There’s a good reason why so many start-ups get underway with remote teams.


From the corporate perspective widens and deepens the candidate pool. Offering remote working capabilities is a great recruitment and retention tool that gives some wellie to job satisfaction with its inherent improved work/life balance.

  1. Blind hiring: How to avoid the 2017 workforce bias controversy that rocked the tech industry? Use a blind hiring process.

In standard screening and interviewing processes, it’s too easy for unconscious bias to seep in. But with a blind hiring process – one that strips out any info on a CV that might reveal demographic data – you can base the first wave of screening on nothing other than ability and achievement.

  1. Gamification: this technique is working its way into all industry types.

The notion of turning engagement into the format of a competitive game is useful for a range of purposes from marketing to teaching.

  1. Future-proofing employees: there’s a cold, hard truth that political pundits do their utmost to avoid. And that’s that jobs in manufacturing and manual labour won’t return to what they once were. Artificial Intelligence is taking over repetitive tasks. And predictive analytics is replacing certain levels of management and decision making. The reach of this extends far beyond manufacturing. This makes such people as travel agents and flight attendants vulnerable.

The Big Question

Taking all this into consideration, the big question, as the article says, is where is the human workforce in all this?

In 2018, it’s up to you, as a company, to look at your human resources and work out the best way to place them into future positions.

As Millet says, for the employer this means: Identifying staff willing to embrace different aspects of jobs that require a human element.

Much of this is readily available now and its presence is sure to grow. If you want to be smart then invest time and resources now to get ahead of the pack. Start preparing for the future today

We’re almost a third of the way into 2018. Have the technology-driven trends described here had some effect on your business? Let us know – we’d love to hear about it.

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