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HR trends for 2023: Growth, safety and cyber security

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Some of the trending themes for the year revolve around business growth, the health and safety of employees and cyber security risks.

This was discussed in ELMO Software’s 2023 HR Industry Benchmark Report, in partnership with the Australian HR Institute (AHRI).

The report found that despite economic uncertainty, 76 per cent of the 700 Australian HR professionals surveyed predict growth over the next 12 months.


“Looking back, uncertainty has been a central theme of the past three years. Uncertainty over our health, the economy, and how the world would rebound from the global pandemic. It has not been an easy task for the HR industry,” said Danny Lessem, chief executive at ELMO.

“With no rulebook to follow, it has been the job of HR professionals to forge a path ahead in the middle of such instability. Despite the lifting of lockdowns and most COVID-19 regulations, a sense of uncertainty remains in 2023. The fear of a recession still looms, forcing many organisations to proceed with caution.”

Almost half of those who are expanding their workforce believe they will increase headcounts by 11 to 25 per cent, with Victoria, Queensland, and NSW the top states for growth, predicting 26 per cent, 24 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.

Coinciding with this growth is a balance of flexibility. According to ELMO, employers are struggling to find a balance post-pandemic lockdowns as they’re aware that forcing full-time onsite work will drive away talent.

Mr Lessem commented: “This year’s benchmark report paints a picture of the balancing act facing the HR industry as they navigate optimistic plans to grow their workforce amid a challenging economic forecast.

“The other element of balance comes in the form of flexibility. Three years on from the almost overnight shift to working remotely in white-collar industries, now HR and business leaders are trying to strike the right mix of flexibility and face-to-face collaboration.”

The top priority for 56 per cent of HR professionals this year is workplace health and safety, jumping 15 percentage points from last year. ELMO said this could be due to the government tightening workplace health and safety laws in NSW.

Coming in second at 54 per cent is employee data and security. According to ELMO, the high-profile hacks that rocked the workforce in 2022 have pushed this issue to the forefront.

Keith Marlow, cloud architect and security expert at ELMO, commented: “Securing the personal information of employees is a critical concern for businesses, and their well-placed trust in your ability to do so shouldn’t be taken for granted. That’s why it is imperative for HR leaders to develop policies and processes that safeguard their employee data, as well as thoroughly vetting the external vendors they work with.”

Mr Lessem continued: “The findings also point to HR as a function that is becoming more sophisticated in how it uses metrics to make strategic, well-informed decisions. On the flip side, the threat of cyber crime has ramped up in recent years, and now HR professionals play a crucial role in developing the skill sets of their staff and securing their employee data.

“But with new challenges come fresh opportunity, particularly in the use of technology to minimise those risks and automate the time-consuming manual tasks that still take up too much of HR’s time.” 

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.