Almost half of European HR professionals do not know what GDPR is
The new regulations, due to come into effect in May 2018, will force companies to be much more careful with how they protect customer data. Image: Ruslan Grumble/Shutterstock

Almost half of European HR professionals do not know what GDPR is

12 Dec 2017

SD Worx conducted a survey of 1,800 professionals in Europe, and found that 44pc do not know what GDPR is.

Global HR and payroll service provider SD Worx has revealed that out of 1,800 HR and payroll professionals that it surveyed, 44pc do not know what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is.

Of the 56pc of HR and payroll professionals that are aware of GDPR, however, 81pc expressed confidence that they will be prepared for the new regulations by the impending May 2018 deadline.

The research was conducted by 3GEM on behalf of SD Worx and carried out among nine European markets: the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Most professionals surveyed (84pc) admitted that they were collaborating with other departments while preparing for GDPR, and 91pc are likely to seek additional skills from outside their organisation to aid with GDPR compliance. Additionally, 73pc of this contingent believe that GDPR compliance would be easier if HR and payroll was outsourced.

Among the percentage aware of GDPR, 55pc see it as a threat to the HR industry.

Although it is quite a divisive issue, the cohort that has heard of GDPR is largely positive in its outlook about the possible effects. Within the HR and payroll industry, 71pc believe that data security will be the biggest benefit, whereas 3pc believe that GDPR will bring no benefits at all.

There was a lot of variety in terms of GDPR preparedness among the nine surveyed markets. While 67pc of respondents in Austria believe their HR team will be fully GDPR-compliant by the deadline, in Ireland, the rate was 90pc.

When asked about whether outsourcing the HR and payroll department will make becoming GDPR-compliant easier, 56pc of Swiss respondents said yes, whereas in Belgium (85pc) and the UK (73pc), this was considerably higher.

Jean-Luc Barbier, international managing director at SD Worx, commented: “This survey has revealed the clear divide in the HR industry.

“Even though those who have heard of GDPR are preparing for GDPR and think they are likely to be ready by the deadline, the other half of the industry has not heard of GDPR. Therefore, you would assume that the ones who aren’t aware aren’t making the necessary changes to their department.

“It’s great to see that those who are aware are seeking skills to help them from a variety of sources, both internal and external. What this survey tells us, though, is that a significant amount of education still needs to be done.”

GDPR compliance has become a huge priority for businesses of late, with a failure to comply having the potential to cost companies massive amounts in fines. Though it is an EU regulation, it will have far-reaching consequences for any company looking to scale their business globally, particularly US companies.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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