The human resources profession is becoming increasingly female according to new research released this week. However, fewer people are “falling into” a career in HR by chance, than previously.
The research by XpertHR also found that women are more likely than men to have joined HR having been asked to take on HR responsibilities in a previous role; and men are more likely to have trained in HR from the start.
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Nearly three-fifths (58%) of respondents said that they chose or moved into HR due to an interest in the work of HR. One-third (35%) entered the HR profession by chance and more than a quarter (29%) wanted to “work with people”.
These findings suggest a growing trend for HR professionals to have made a conscious decision to work in HR. In XpertHR’s previous surveys, the most common reason for beginning an HR career was by chance, cited by around half of respondents (49% in 2014 and 45% in 2011).
HR has long been known as a predominantly female career choice and that shows little sign of abating. More than four-fifths (84%) of HR professionals taking part in our survey are female. XpertHR acknowledged its sample was not a definitive reflection of the gender composition of UK HR but reported that the proportion of women in its 2017 research was notably higher than for the previous two surveys (75% in both 2014 and 2011).
Two-thirds (68%) of male respondents are in senior HR roles, compared with just over three-fifths (62%) of female respondents.
Other findings in XpertHR’s HR careers survey include:
- 14% of HR professionals work part-time;
- 91% are permanent employees, 5% are on fixed-term contracts and the remainder are self-employed or work on a day rate;
- 85% of female HR respondents are CIPD members compared with 73% of male HR respondents; and
- 14% of female HR respondents had no CIPD qualification, compared with 27% of men.
The most widespread organisational barriers to advancement in the HR profession are: the perception of HR by the organisation (for 49% of respondents); the lack of a clear HR strategy (41%); and a limited HR budget (36%).