The HR profession has been likened to car maker Skoda in new research into the perception of different business functions.
A survey of 200 UK executives, by the Rialto Consultancy, revealed that 68% of respondents chose Skoda - a brand going through a major transition period - as the car that relates most closely to HR.
In comparison, 73% matched their finance department with Volvo, known for its safety and conservativeness, while most aligned marketing with Ford, and sales with Ferrari, which has a reputation for being 'slick and quick'.
Only 12% regarded their HR function as influential in their organisation, a figure illustrated by the perception of the role of HR professionals.
Almost half (47%) of the executives believed that the primary function of HR was administration, 33% said recruitment, while 19% regarded its main role as the negotiation of wages and benefits. Only 11% thought their HR function's main role was to create a good working environment, and only 14% said it was primarily focused on staff retention.
Richard Chiumento, chief executive of the Rialto Consultancy, said: "Skoda has been working hard on changing its image, which is a long-term process. The research suggests that HR is in a very similar position and in need of a brand makeover.
"The good news is that it is not an impossible task, and with new attitudes, outlook and persistence, the industry can change its overall perception."