Survey Reveals Growing Discontent Among HR Professionals Around the World

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

Jan. 21 — Only about one-third of HR professionals in more than 30 countries feel “very satisfied” with their jobs, a 5 percent decline from last year, according to a survey released Jan. 14 by London, U.K.-based recruitment and outsourcing firm Harvey Nash plc.

The survey of 1,217 HR professionals found that while 32 percent said they are very satisfied and almost half (49 percent) pronounced themselves “quite satisfied,” 20 percent called themselves “not very” or “not at all” satisfied, a 5 percent jump from last year.

Adding to the sense of restlessness in the ranks, “the past year has witnessed a 7 percent drop in respondents’ belief that HR has an important role to play in the organization,” Harvey Nash said in a Jan. 14 statement announcing the results of its survey, which was heavily tilted toward Europe (51 percent of respondents were based in “mainland Europe,” 33 percent in the U.K. and 9 percent in Asia; only 15 respondents were based in the U.S.).

Commenting on the survey in a Jan. 21 e-mail to Bloomberg BNA, Lisa Wormald, director, Harvey Nash Human Resources, said: “HR is in an interesting transitory period. At the height of the recession the role of HR was vital. Now with many boards looking beyond the recession, the focus is shifting to growth.”

“Of course HR has a role to play there too—change management, recruitment and engagement are key—but now it is competing with other voices such sales, operations and marketing,” she added.

CEOs should keep their fingers on the pulse of HR, Wormald suggested. “HR people are ambitious. Whilst there are some who simply focus on ‘keeping the lights on', the vast majority of senior HR people want to progress both the company they work for and their careers. In this environment then it is no surprise that 57 percent of HR professionals expect to change jobs in the next two years.”

Even more imminently, the survey found that 27 percent plan to change jobs within the next 12 months, up 4 percent from 23 percent last year. The survey added, however, that last year only 16 percent of surveyed HR pros actually did change jobs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at

An executive summary of the survey results can be found at