Human resources (HR) managers in Europe's leading companies expect a slight improvement in employment conditions in 2010, according to a recent EU-wide survey.
The 5th annual European HR Barometer, which analyses the role of HR in corporate Europe, sheds light on prospects for growth and job creation but warns that the tough employment climate will remain in place for some time.
Carried out by the European Club for Human Resources (EChr) between December and mid-January, the survey foresees an upturn in recruitment in 2010 compared with last year – reflecting the gradual recovery in European economic activity in late 2009.
Despite the seemingly more positive outlook, 44% of companies are still predicting workforce reductions in 2010. This figure is significantly down from last year (71%), however, while 20% of businesses expect to create new jobs this year, compared with only 8% in 2009.
The impact of the crisis on European business performance and EU public finances means that labour conditions continue to be fragile and growth potential limited this year.
One of the biggest concerns among HR managers remains the current skills shortage in the European labour market. Despite high unemployment, qualified individuals are in demand. Yet one in three Europeans of working age has no or few formal qualifications (EURACTIV 05/02/10).
There are therefore high expectations for a new, results-driven EU policy agenda. According to the survey, 66% of HR managers see the creation of a new growth plan for fostering innovation in education and research as a top priority for the new European Commission.
Leonardo Sforza, chairman of the EChr Scientific Committee and head of EU affairs and research at Hewitt Associates, said that he hoped for better links between EU policymaking and Europe's HR leaders, noting the current productivity gap between the United States and Europe.