SHRM Survey Shows HR Pros Optimistic About Their Profession

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 29, 2016

For those who believe HR is becoming less relevant, a new survey released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) paints a more optimistic picture. The SHRM survey shows that confidence in the HR profession is growing, especially among early-career professionals.

The survey reports that 85% of new HR professionals are "not at all concerned" about their job security, compared with 75% of all HR professionals who responded similarly. Those numbers represent a sharp increase from January 2014, when the survey was first conducted, when only 61% expressed no concern with their job security.

Jen Schramm, SHRM's Manager of Workplace Trends and Forecasting, called the results "positive" in an interview with XpertHR. "There's a real difference when you compare these results with the 2014 survey," said Schramm. "HR professionals are feeling pretty good. We're in a place in the economy where [some] people are still under-employed but unemployment is pretty low."

The survey asked respondents about hiring for HR jobs at their organizations, their own job-seeking plans, their sense of job security and confidence in their ability to find new job opportunities.

Interestingly, while early-career HR pros did not express job security concerns, they had less confidence in their ability to find another job, with 63% "somewhat or very confident," compared with 88% of HR professionals overall.

In all, the survey shows that hiring remains relatively flat for HR positions compared with a year ago. But the report also indicates that most HR professionals have no plans to move, with just under one in five respondents (19%) saying they were looking for a new job, either by choice or involuntarily.

Schramm said the top reason cited in the survey for seeking another opportunity was a desire for more compensation. She noted, "HR professionals have the same ambitions as anybody else."

Among the employers that were hiring for HR positions, the top functions sought were:

  • HR generalists - 49%;
  • Employment/recruitment - 31%;
  • Administrative - 15%;
  • Benefits - 14%; and
  • Employee relations - 13%.

This survey comes on the heels of a report released at last month's SHRM 2016 Convention, which revealed that many employers across a variety of professions are having a tougher time finding qualified applicants.