Employee engagement tops polls as HR’s biggest challenge in 2018 as the list of upcoming challenges for 44% of the 447 participants, followed by staff retention (36%). Absence management and recruitment came in as the joint third biggest worry for 33% of respondents, with succession planning in fifth place (26%).

And it appears the same themes have posed the biggest headache for HR in 2017. When asked to reflect on their toughest encounters from the past 12 months, professionals ranked recruitment as the clear front-runner (52%), followed by absence management, (43%), employee engagement (39%), and retention (37%), with learning and development the only difference(20%).

Perhaps surprisingly, GDPR seems to be sitting relatively comfortably with the profession, with a different question concluding that 61% now feeling their team is somewhat prepared for the upcoming legislative changes.