HR is 75% female and that's a problem, expert says
- Most HR professionals in the U.S. and across the globe are women, a commonly known fact, reports TLNT. Women make up 75% of the HR workforce and 74.2% of HR management and those numbers may be partly due to old sexist stereotypes about who does what work in the workplace.
- HR became a mostly female profession because its practitioners in the early days of the "personnel department" were secretaries or administrative staff. Also, tasks were largely clerical, such as administering benefits, processing payroll and conducting training, says the TLNT column's author, Jen Ott, Workplace Relations Manager and HR Business Partner at SAP Concur. Teachers also were early HR personnel because they were suitable as trainers and held degrees, she says.
- To overcome the fact that most HR graduates are female, Ott recommends that organizations diversify by viewing the profession as a strategic function. Increased adoption of technology, data and metrics could draw more men into the field, she says.
The stereotyping of certain professions remains entrenched in employment and Ott presents some interesting recommendations for diversifying HR.
Some HR professionals still spend much of their time performing administrative tasks. But others have long recognized the need to operate strategically. Many HR leaders sit alongside C-suite members, having earned the title of strategic business partner within their organizations. An HR Certification Institute (HRCI) study found that organizations don't always adopt HR strategic plans, but when they do, the outcomes are positive. As for technology, HR professionals already are automating their training and benefits functions and using artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting.
If these initiatives can improve diversity as Ott suggests, they may be worth considering. Diversity has been shown to make businesses financially successful, and a more diverse HR based on gender and ethnicity wouldn't be an exception. HR can diversify itself following the same strategies it uses to staff other departments.