The Most In-Demand Skills and Competencies for the Future of HR

December 4 2013 by Editorial - editor


Recently, WANTED Analytics published the “20 Most In-Demand HR Skills” – compiled by listing the most commonly specified tools, technologies and other skills that people in the HR field are required to have based upon online job ads.

WANTED’s list included:

  1. Oracle HRIS
  2. Legal compliance
  3. Oracle PeopleSoft
  4. Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
  5. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

I must say that I was disappointed in the content of this list – but not necessarily surprised. As is often the case, it appears that when companies are searching for HR talent, their wish-list is filled with administrative and compliance focused activities.


At the same time, the HR profession is maligned and impugned for being focused on process over innovation and administrivia over enabling success in the organization.

But I don’t blame HR. I blame the leaders of organizations who haven’t changed their perceptions, expectations or hiring requirements (see above) for the function that touches every aspect of an organization’s unique competitive advantage – their people.

Over the years, I’ve spoken with many CEO’s and business leaders who bemoan the fact that HR isn’t a strategic partner in their organization, while at the same time compensating their HR professional well below other leaders in the company and also marginalizing their ability to contribute by not including them in discussions beyond policies, payroll and benefits.

In one specific conversation with a CEO who wanted to replace his current Director of HR for not being “strategic”, I asked him how he would describe a strategic HR professional. His response? “Someone who takes care of all of that HR stuff so I don’t have to talk to them.”


To get the most out of the HR function, the mandate of every business leader should be to view the department not just as an administrative or “people” function, but as a business function critical to execution of the strategic plan of the company – and to staff this critical business function with the best and brightest talent available to ensure the organization’s success.


Because the caliber and quality of the talent in the Human Resources/Talent Acquisition functions has a direct effect on the caliber and quality of talent that an organization is able to attract, recruit and retain.

I think the list of the Most In-Demand HR Skills and Competencies for the Future of HR should look more like this:

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Decision-making
  3. Data analysis
  4. Predictive-modeling
  5. Organizational design
  6. Coaching and influencing
  7. Recruiting/Talent acquisition
  8. Content marketing
  9. Financial acumen
  10. Technology/Information Systems

Let’s stop giving attention to what HR doesn’t do or why HR isn’t needed anymore, and instead focus on hiring and developing HR Leaders with the skills, talents and abilities necessary to have maximum impact in their organizations and within their profession in the future.