Public sector values HR as a strategic business tool

The public sector is more likely to offer HR professionals a strategic role, including their own budgets and documented strategy, and most public sector boardrooms (63 per cent) offer a seat on the board to their most senior HR manager.

But despite HR departments in the public sector being more likely to have the trappings of a strategic role, they also spend more of their time on administrative activities than those in the private sector.

The findings come from a survey released today by Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review, which questioned employers about who offers the broadest HR experience and best career development. 

The annual HR Benchmarks Survey of 128 organisations, employing a total of 95,880 people, shows that the typical HR department has one HR practitioner for every 109 employees, but this varies according to organisation size and sector.

This headline figure also disguises the fact that the larger an organisation, the lower its HR:employee ratio. Public sector organisations also tend to have relatively large HR departments compared with the number of staff they oversee.

Key survey findings

  • 73 per cent of respondents believe HR has become more influential in the past five years, while 7 per cent believe its influence has declined
  • 57 per cent said their HR budget had increased during the past five years, but for 24 per cent it had decreased and 19 per cent saw no change
  • 46 per cent expect the value of the HR budget to rise in the next five years, 40 per cent expect no change, 13 per cent expect a cut
  • 70 per cent expect managers to hold a formal qualification
  • 28 per cent have a director with sole responsibility for HR
  • Only 13 per cent had outsourced any activities in the past two years
  • 40 per cent measured the effectiveness of HR and its contribution to business success, 50 per cent did not

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