The HR Benchmarking report claimed just 32 per cent of senior personnel managers are board members, despite companies claiming they placed HR issues at the top of the agenda.
But HR directors claimed the results did not necessarily mean the profession was lacking in influence.
Paul Pagliari, HR director of Scottish Power, said, “At Scottish Power, we have an operating board and a main board. The operating board, which I am on, is where decisions are made. They are endorsed by the main board.
“I think the question you have to ask is, ‘How many HR directors are on the operating board?’ I can understand why people aspire to be on the main board, but I do not think it is essential. I would recognise it as a concern if HR people were not on the operating board.”
John Renz, HR director of CMS Cameron McKenna, said, “I am constantly surprised by the number of HR people in middle management positions who lack basic commercial management skills – and this also applies to some HR directors in large corporate companies.
“We have to encourage young HR professionals to get as much experience as possible in other areas. This is a problem of our own making and the longer-term solution is to change ourselves.”