Two dominant trends are potentially reshaping the role of the HR function in the corporate world. The first relates to the rapid growth of the knowledge economy. In this environment, a committed, appropriately skilled and prudently deployed workforce is critical in order to develop new products and outstrip the competition. Second, many administrative functions that were formerly handled by HR departments, such as payroll and pensions, have now been farmed out to third parties. Indeed, research reveals that more than two-thirds of companies outsource a portion of their HR functions. This report by the Economist Intelligence Unit investigates whether the HR function is forging a close and robust relationship with the CEO. It also explores the nature of these working relationships, how they have been affected by the economic downturn and how they vary across industries and regions.