Median HR Staffing Levels Rise To All-Time High In Bloomberg BNA's Annual Human Resources Benchmarks Report

Arlington, Va. (October 26, 2016) — Bloomberg BNA today released its HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2016-2017 report. Issued annually since 1978, the report is a vital source for human resources executives at organizations of all types and sizes, providing benchmarking data and insights required to plan for the future and manage the function more effectively and strategically.  A complimentary copy of the HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2016-2017 executive summary, and more about the report, is available at  


“Our annual survey-based report is an authoritative, trusted source of research, analysis and perspective on human resource department staffing, expenditures, responsibilities, priorities and influence,” said Molly Huie, Manager of Survey Reports, Bloomberg BNA. “HR executives that want to benchmark their organization against others on issues related to budget, staffing, outsourcing, priorities, organizational influence, and strategic planning can turn to this report for the information they can rely on.”

Key findings of this year’s survey include:

  • The median ratio of human resources staff to total employee headcount climbed to an all-time high of 1.4 full-time equivalent HR employees for every 100 workers served by the human resource department in 2016, surpassing the previous record high of 1.3 human resource staff members per 100 workers in both 2014 and 2013.
  • Recruitment and retention, for the fifth straight year, remains the top priority for HR professionals, with over eight in ten respondents saying these are important issues.  Workforce diversity, performance management and downsizing appear to be getting more attention than they have in the recent past.
  • HR departments’ concerns over how they are perceived within the organization have increased dramatically, with nearly two-thirds of survey respondents indicating that satisfaction with the department’s performance was an important priority, compared with just four in 10 a year earlier.
  • The median budgeted change in HR department funding is 4.2 percent, identical to last year, but still far below pre-2008 recession levels of 5 percent or higher. 
  • The benefits of economies of scale are substantial for HR departments — on a per capita basis, companies with fewer than 250 employees spend nearly four times as much on the HR function ($2,375 per employee) as organizations with at least 2,500 workers ($664 per employee). 

The report is based on a survey of over 550 human resource professionals representing a broad cross-section of U.S. employers.