HR Professionals Plan to Stay in Current Jobs

By Jennifer Schramm Feb 1, 2014

February 2014 CoverWhile most employees will seek other job opportunities in 2014, a majority of HR professionals plan to stay put, recent surveys indicate.

More than 8 in 10 workers in the U.S. and Canada say they will "actively seek a new position" in 2014, according to a survey of 900 workers by Right Management, a career advisory firm. Just 5 percent say they have no intention of seeking a new job.

The long recession and very slow jobs recovery that followed have clearly created a lot of pent-up desire among employees to move on. Many have stayed in jobs years longer than they would have in a better economy. HR professionals have been bracing for an increase in voluntary turnover ever since the recovery began, and benchmarking data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) show that an increase is already occurring: In 2013, the voluntary turnover rate rose to 13 percent, compared with 8 percent in 2010.

The SHRM HR Jobs Pulse, a new poll of more than 800 HR professionals, indicates that HR practitioners themselves have been similarly affected by these economic conditions, and we may now be entering a period of higher turnover rates within HR departments.

However, HR professionals are not planning to seek new jobs at the rates employees overall seem poised to do. Just a little more than one-third of HR professionals plan to seek new employment in the near future. One reason may be that only around 20 percent of organizations have job openings in HR, with the generalist, employment/recruitment, administrative and employee relations functions most in demand.

When it comes to job security, nearly 4 in 10 HR professionals report some degree of concern. Senior-level HR professionals are the least concerned. On the flip side, nearly 6 in 10 individuals in early-career HR positions are at least somewhat concerned about job security. Still, about 8 in 10 HR professionals have at least some confidence they could land a new position if they needed to.

The economic uncertainty of the past few years clearly has influenced how HR professionals see their own jobs, but the fact that most in the HR field do not plan to look for a new job in 2014 indicates that the HR profession may be in a better position than many others. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected HR positions to be among the fastest growing and best jobs in the coming decade.

As a result, many HR professionals may feel relatively hopeful about opportunities in their current organization and, therefore, may feel less pressure to look elsewhere. Of those who do plan to look for a new job in 2014, almost all (95 percent) will stick with the HR profession.

Jennifer Schramm is manager of the Workforce Trends program at SHRM.

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