HR Professionals Confident in the HR Job Market

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By Genevieve Douglas

July 21 — Although job opportunities in HR have been flat since the start of 2015, there is increased confidence among HR professionals that they would be able to land a new job in their field, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey released July 16.

SHRM’s summer 2015 “HR Jobs Pulse Survey Report” is based on responses from 423 HR professionals, who filled out the survey online in May.

The survey found that 88 percent of HR professionals had some level of confidence that they could land a new position, if needed. This number is up slightly from 85 percent in December 2014 and 79 percent in January 2014. Of the 88 percent, 59 percent said they were “somewhat confident” and 29 percent said they were “very confident.”

HR Generalists Most Popular

According to the survey, HR generalists are the most sought-after HR professionals, cited by 55 percent of respondents.

The popularity of HR generalists may be due to companies that have limited HR staff. “Small and medium-sized companies don’t have really big HR departments, so they sometimes need someone who can do it all,” Jen Schramm, SHRM’s manager of workforce trends, told Bloomberg BNA July 21.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of employers with 25,000 or more workers are hiring for HR jobs, while only 1 percent of small companies are looking for new HR employees.

“Larger companies employ more HR professionals so it makes sense that they are more likely to report that they are trying to fill HR positions, especially during a jobs recovery,” Schramm said.

The survey also found that about one-quarter (24 percent) of companies that are hiring are seeking HR professionals with employment/recruitment skills, followed by those with benefits experience (16 percent of companies hiring), employee relations skills (13 percent) and training/development skills (13 percent).

Some Job Security Concerns 

For HR professionals looking for a new job, “more compensation/pay” was cited as the reason by 37 percent, while 33 percent pointed to “better career advancement opportunities.”

The survey also revealed that more than one out of four HR professionals (27 percent) had some degree of concern about job security.

However, fewer respondents in the summer 2015 survey said they were worried about the stability of their jobs compared with previous surveys, SHRM said.

“The earlier the HR professional is in their career, the less confident they are about their job security or their ability to land an HR job,” Schramm said. “But compared to last year’s survey, confidence was lower then. This increase in confidence reflects broader trends in the workforce.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bna.com

The survey results are available at http://www.shrm.org/Research/Documents/HR%20Jobs%20Pulse%20Survey,%20Summer%202015.pdf.