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How did you get into human resources as a profession?
If you’re like 25% of participants in a recent survey, you probably fell into this career path by some sort of accident. It’s not a bad thing at all – it’s simply an interesting insight into how HR leaders entered their careers.
According to research conducted by XpertHR, which explored the careers of HR professionals in the US, it appears the HR profession as a whole is happy with itself. The majority of HR heads interviewed said they are happy with the career choice they’ve made and they believe senior managers value what they do.
So it’s surprising that more than half of respondents felt their reasons for getting into HR were “heavily influenced by chance and external forces rather than through an active desire to work in HR”.
When asked to give three reasons for choosing HR as a career, 36% said they had been asked to take on HR responsibilities while they were in a previous role, while 25% said they found themselves in HR “by chance”.
Additionally, 84% said their first job was not in HR.
However, there were a significant amount of professionals who deliberately chose HR as a career path. Nearly one in three said they chose HR “because they want to work with people”, while 22% said it had been an attractive career proposition.
Another 22% saw it as a natural progression from their previous role, while 13% took on a job in HR after being mentored by an HR professional.
When it comes to career advancement, the top enabling factors for HR professionals to boost their careers was experience gained through HR generalist roles (48.5%), personal drive (41.5%) and business awareness (31.5%).
By contrast, the factors cited as having held them back in their careers are their employer’s failure to view HR as important (40%), the lack of a clear HR strategy in their organisation (31.6%) and the lack of a structured HR career progression framework in the profession (29.3%).
Additionally, only one in 10 respondents said they never scan the job market for new opportunities. Of those who do, LinkedIn is where they search through the most, followed by general recruitment websites and job boards, and careers websites of specific employers.
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