Record numbers of junior HR staff leaving over lack of opportunities: Recruitment and retention

Employers have been urged to involve their junior HR staff in more than just administrative duties, after research revealed that the number of HR assistants resigning from their jobs tripled last year.

A survey of 4,400 HR staff, by researchers Remuneration Economics, shows that 10% of HR assistants left their jobs in the 12 months to September 2005, compared with just 3% in the year to September 2004.

Jo Davies, manager at recruitment firm FSS HR, said junior HR staff should be involved in strategy.

“As the role of the HR function within businesses has evolved and the volume of employment law has increased, junior HR people are now expecting to add value at an operational level as opposed to just carrying out their traditional administrative duties,” she said.

Rebecca Clake, resourcing adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the increasing use of technology in HR departments meant that the expectations of both HR staff and their employers were changing.

“An HR assistant role could cover a broad range of responsibilities, and people are likely to use it as a stepping stone in their career,” she said.

“Many HR professionals are also deciding that it is helpful to get experience in a different sector, so they could be moving around more as a result.”

Susan Major, director of the HR division at recruitment firm Robert Walters, agreed, warning that junior HR staff would not stick around if they felt they were not developing. “If there’s no scope for progression, people will usually jump ship,” she said.

The survey also showed an increase in resignation rates for HR officers at 7.2%, up from 3.8% the previous year. In contrast, the number of HR directors handing in their notice stayed roughly the same at 4.3%, compared with 3.8% in 2003-04.

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