The vast majority of line managers working across all industries still see the HR function as mainly administrative, according to exclusive research by Personnel Today, in association with recruitment consultancy Proactive HR.
The views of just under 2,000 line managers who responded to the 360-Degree Appraisal of HR revealed that perceptions of how vital HR was to business changed dramatically depending on the industry they worked in.
The banking, professional services, information technology, communications and social care sectors saw HR as bad news, for instance. However, the construction, catering and hospitality industries felt the profession added value to the business and helped to push their own careers forward.
Line managers in other sectors - such as manufacturing, transport, distribution and retail - believed that HR helped to improve the way they worked, although experiences were mixed when it came to how well it handled pay, training and recruitment.
But one thing the majority of managers agreed on - at least three-quarters from across all industry sectors that were surveyed - was that the HR function was still mainly about paperwork.
So what can HR directors in the sectors that were slated by their line managers learn from the research, and their more popular counterparts in other industries?
Some of the industry views are outlined below, and more appears in our special feature section.
The good - construction
Making sure line managers understood the benefit of talking to HR seemed to be the main difference between practitioners being seen in a positive light or a negative one.
In stark contrast to the banking, professional services, manufacturing, IT and communications sectors, managers in the construction industry mainly had praise for HR.
HR scored highly among 67% of respondents on pay and benefits, and its ability to arrange training was applauded by 68%. Construction line managers felt HR was giving something back to their business rather than simply sitting behind a desk.
Twice as many line managers - four out of 10 - felt the performance of HR in construction firms had a dire