Global HR leaders split on urgent need to drive HR function into the future

Urgent need to drive HR function into the future

Two-thirds of HR leaders have no digital plan; only 37 percent are “very confident” on ability to transform: 21st annual KPMG International survey

Global HR leaders split on urgent need to drive HR function into the future

Today’s HR leaders are divided on the urgent need to redefine the Human Resources function for success in the 21st century, according to KPMG International’s global survey of over 1200 HR leaders, entitled The Future of HR 2019: In the Know or In the No.

While some HR leaders are confidently harnessing the resources and insights that will transform HR and its value to the enterprise, a much larger segment of less-confident HR leaders are demonstrating either a ‘wait-and-see’ approach or simply sitting idle on the sidelines.

Among key findings in KPMG’s new Future of HR study:

  • Just 40 percent of HR leaders said they have a digital transformation work plan in place
  • 70 percent recognize the need for workforce transformation but only 37 percent are “very confident” about HR’s ability to transform
  • 42 percent agree that preparing the workforce for a future with Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest challenges HR will face over the next five years
  • HR functions which are currently undergoing a digital transformation (or completed recently) consider skill deficiencies (51 percent) and lack of resources (43 percent) to be the key barriers to moving from initial phases of the transformation to scale
  • Workplace culture is also considered a top barrier to digital transformation for 41 percent of respondents. About one in three (35 percent) said their current culture is more task oriented rather than innovative or experimental

This survey of 1200 executives also reveals a difference of opinion between HR teams and their senior leaders. More than half of the HR executives surveyed – 60 percent – believe AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates. Conversely, KPMG’s 2018 Global CEO Outlook study revealed about the same number of CEOs, 62 percent, believe AI will create more jobs than it eliminates.

“If people are truly to become appreciated as an organisation’s greatest asset, in order to stay successful, organisations can no longer solely focus on traditional metrics such as financial performance when taking strategic decisions. More than ever before, organisations must define and measure their people experience, i.e. the emotional bond of its employees with the organisation, and how this relates to their customer experience. When you think about your employees, they will think about your business for you” commented Malcolm Pace Debono and Petra Sant from the People & Change Advisory function at KPMG in Malta.


Download the complete report here


About this survey:

During July to August of 2018, 1,201 senior HR executives from 64 countries participated in the Future of HR Survey, with representation from 31 industries across Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Middle East/Africa and Latin America. Approximately half of the sample are companies with headcount of 5,000 or more employees and 42 percent of participants were from organizations with annual revenue of more than US$1B.

© 2024 KPMG, a Malta civil partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss cooperative. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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