Most personnel directors in the UK are in their positions because of their
While experience is more important than length of service or wider business
skills in the UK, it is a very different picture in Europe. More than a third
of senior HR specialists in Europe are appointed from outside the profession.
On average, senior HR practitioners across Europe have almost 12 years’
experience with their current organisation, ranging from eight years in the UK
to 16 years in Bulgaria. The same people have an average of 14 years’
experience as HR specialists. Again this is subject to significant variations
between countries – ranging from seven years in Denmark to 17 in Sweden and the
Regarding the recruitment practices of firms, on average two-thirds of
senior HR managers are recruited from pools of HR specialists (either from
internal or external sources), though this figure is lower in Finland and
Austria, for example, where only four in 10 are HR specialists.
In the UK, almost three-quarters of HR directors are from a specialist HR
background. This suggests that senior HR professionals in the UK expect to
change organisations in order to get promoted.
Half of firm’s HR directors are recruited internally, whether they are HR
specialists or not, and half externally, on average – but, again, national
differences are discernable. In the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria and Turkey,
around two-thirds of organisations recruited their current HR director
internally, while only four out of 10 companies do so in the UK.