The future of Big Data in HR


Over the last ten years, Big Data has promised to inspire changes in many fields of activity, among which human resources. Big Data applied to HR is still at its earliest stage, in such a way that to already consider its future can seem like fortune-telling. 4 main work streams do however exist and enable to anticipate the near future and imagine Big Data solutions capable of answering the key issues we are faced with:

  • Strategic HRM (Human Resource Management)
  • The transformation of Corporate Relations
  • The shortening lifespan of competencies
  • HR capital valorisation
  • CSR


  1. Federating HR information:

Information useful to Talent Management is often dispatched between various IT systems which HR do not always have access to (HRIS, recruitment software, payroll, Corporate Social Media, Project Management).

Semantics enable to gather this precious information around one unified research system, affording efficient research as well as improved result visualisation.


  1. Enriching HR data:

The human being represents a whole, while HR data is often limited to specific business aspects. A job or a CV are nothing but a huddle of professional terms, rarely meeting the actual goals and aspirations of businesses and individuals.

It is in this manner that one may, for instance, consider talking about employment or salary grids without delving into the detail of purchasing power or quality of life, yet essential to each and every one of us.

With Big Data, it is possible to combine data sources any time. It is therefore possible to objectify a salary given the market, to choose a position for the quality of life it offers rather than its gross salary, etc.

Of course, this contextualization already exists, at least tacitly and empirically. Big Data will broaden its reach and align it around shared benchmarks.


  1. Analysing HR Data relationships:

Who do we recruit and why? What is competition up to? Which positions lead to another? Do we have a hold on the profiles we will be in need of tomorrow? What cross-over is there between jobs?

Lack of time deprives these questions of an answer, from the moment one takes interest in medium-sized to large business.

Big Data is making it possible to study the relations between business skills or degrees and jobs, hence enabling a better understanding of employment mechanisms as well as consequential decision-making.


  1. Managing change:

Manipulating causes and their effects necessarily brings one to consider the predictive aspect of Data. Certain projects have emerged in this domain. We are here faced with the most ‘futuristic’ part of Big Data, as promising as it is subject to controversy. Sufficient maturity is unlikely to arise on the short run.

In order to offer a concrete and practical vision of the possible applications, let’s try and imagine what HR Big Data has in store for the near future:

2016: Thanks to semantics, all available Data concerning Talents present within a company is federated by HR into one coherent system.

2017: Thanks to internal and external data mining, HR are updating their job and skills referential while assuring their posterity in time.

2018: The combined efforts of HRIS editors offer acute transparence and unprecedented targeting tools. Recruitment actions are more targeted. The number of offers and candidate applications has decreased.

2019: Along with recruiters, candidates also have access to personal Big Data tools. They update their “universal” profiles via Cloud, decide who can access it and are supported in the choosing of their professional and personal aspirations.

2020: The first recruiters and candidates show up. They calculate, optimise and negotiate employment conditions before bringing together recruiters and candidates. Recruitment agencies offer connected services to help structure and optimise the process. Work becomes ever more flexible. Legal experts work on new contractual challenges.

2030: HRM has undergone transformation. It no longer manages people but knowledge. The implementation of this knowledge is not only the result of collaborator skills, but also of the tools put at their disposal, along with the company’s KBC (Knowledge-Based Capital) which HR Departments now guarantee.

Faced with the uncertainty and fracturing of the work contract, HR managers are confronted with 3 major challenges:

  • Sustain key resources
  • Define judicial frameworks adapted to new corporate relations
  • Ensure confidentiality and KBC posterity

2050: HR Departments integrate cybernetic resources. Particular attention is brought to anticipation (strategic watch, data collection and analysis) and to human/machine interaction (Change Management, training and dialogue with internal and external collaborators).


Beyond this anticipation exercise and no matter what one may think, Big Data represents an extraordinary opportunity which HR professionals ought to seize.

Companies capable of achieving the Big Data bet will not only acquire adequate and qualified manpower, but will also improve their capacity to anticipate and react to market evolution, thus staying a step ahead of competition.