Last August Personnel Today transcribed a women-only HR roundtable debate at which the participants discussed the factors that prevent women getting ahead in business. Well now it’s the men’s turn to ponder why there are so few men in HR.
- Chair, Keith Liddiard, deputy chief executive, Centre for High Performance Development
- Chris Battersby, HR manager - UK Transmission, National Grid
- Simon Foster, senior client director, Centre for High Performance Development
- Gerard Hussey, director - policy, employee relations and diversity, GlaxoSmithKline
- Rob Willock, group editor, Personnel Today
- Julian Wood, director - development, marketing and communications, National Audit Office
HR employs about three times as many women as men. But does it matter if your HR department is not reflective of the overall gender mix of the business?
Chris Battersby: At National Grid the problem is more in engineering than in HR. There are areas of the business that are all-male and that is more of a concern for me.
Gerard Hussey: I don’t think it is correct that your constituent HR function has to represent your population - that if the organisation is 50:50, then HR should be 50:50. What you need are people in the organisation that are inclusive and have an open view. I wouldn’t be happy if people think that, just because I am not a woman, I do not understand how women work, the challenges and the pressures they feel.
Julian Wood: As long as you have a breadth of skills and behaviours, then it shouldn’t really make a difference. The challenge for us, as HR leaders, is to ensure we have those skills