A company’s workplace is only as strong as its human resources department, which is why there are many people interested in pursuing this vocation as a career. It also commands a higher-than-average salary at $59,696 (according to job search site Neuvoo). This statistic stands above the average Canadian salary of $55,806, according to an estimation by Statistics Canada and CareerBeacon.

Working a career in human resources is popular, pays well, and can be a very personable and rewarding job for individuals who enjoy working with people. However, it is not all sunshine and rainbows for people in the human resources field, there are industry-wide downsides and challenges that go beyond being responsible for terminating employment and informing people that they “did not get the job”.

Human resources specialists oversee a company’s recruitment, candidate screening, interviewing employees whether they are new to the role or plan on exiting, as well as finding proper placements for employees. Many of these tasks can be streamlined effectively with the help of HR software. The role can also include:

  • managing relations amongst employees and workplaces
  • enforcing workplace safety and harassment rules
  • providing training to ensure that everyone understands how protocols are executed in the workplace
  • facilitating other administrative and organizational workplace functions.

The human resources department serves a lot of the core tasks that are instrumental to a company’s success. This blog post will explore the current trends in the human resources industry, along with some interesting HR statistics that have emerged recently:

HR Statistics: The Biggest HR Challenges

The biggest challenge to human resources teams is recruiting and maintaining a strong employee workforce within the company. This becomes particularly challenging in North America where Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed historically low unemployment rates with Canada’s current rate standing at 5.9 percent and the U.S. rate being 3.6 percent as of October 2019.

In a quickly changing working world where most Millennials are in the full swing of their careers, it can be challenging to quickly adapt to these new developments and serve the needs of a new workforce that may hold different values compared to previous generation.

Source: SHRM/Globoforce; “Employee Recognition Report: Designing Work Cultures for the Human Era”

According to a Globoforce study, the top workforce management challenges include:

  • employee retention and turnover at 47%
  • culture management at 34%
  • remaining challenges at 19%

This 47% statistic emphasizes the severity of employee turnover as one of the biggest HR challenges. Employee turnover severely impacts a business since there are many resources that go into the process of employment termination and with training new employees. Every time a business goes through this process with one of its employees, it takes a hit to resource funding and the interim period impacts the business’ productivity.

This is why the human resource department has a particular interest in limiting employee turnover and ensuring that candidates for the role will be interested in staying with the company for the long run.

Employee turnover can be particularly challenging in North America, where popular industries are often changing with shifting cultural attitudes and developing technology. For example, the rise of technological advancements has made companies more competitive in trying to attract employees with technological skills. This shift means that employees that have those tech skills can be more selective with their employment suitors.

HR Statistics: The Growing HR Challenges

In addition to managing the workforce, one of the growing HR challenges involves the issue of recruitment. In Allegis Group’s “Global Benchmark Study”, it outlined ‘attracting and retaining talent’ as the largest growing HR challenge at a significant 83 percent.

Many human resources departments stated that it is not merely a lack of applicants applying for the role, but it is also a lack of quality applicants applying for the job.

Source: Allegis Group; “Global Benchmark Study”

The goal to limiting employee turnover and ensuring that the company is attracting the best and brightest talent to their firm is often achieved by establishing a great workplace culture, preferably one that tops the lists of “Top Places to Work”.

Another important way to limit turnover and keep a strong workforce for as long as human resources workers can is to identify why employees are leaving their jobs and to combat those problems.

HR Statistics: Why Do Employees Leave?

The Work Institute reported on some of the most common reasons why employees leaving their job post prematurely in their “2017 Retention Report: Trends, Reasons & Recommendations” study. In this report, they have found that the most common reason why employees leave their firms is due to a lack of career development (22 percent).

Source: Work Institute; “2017 Retention Report: Trends, Reasons & Recommendations”

Other reason cited in the report included:

  • a lack of support with a work-life balance (12 per cent)
  • manager’s behaviour (11 percent)
  • unsatisfactory compensation and benefits (9 percent)
  • poor well-being (9 percent)

At 22%, the lack of career development is one of the more concerning HR statistics. When employees feel a lack of progress and fulfillment in their work, they understand that they can begin to stagnate in the role. This means that they will begin to seek out work that either has more upward mobility and promotion opportunities or they will work for another firm altogether.

A strong way to combat this is to identify employees’ long-term career goals and determine how the company can begin to meet these goals. In addition, companies should maintain a strong workplace culture that is known and highly regarded as being one of the ‘top places to work’, thereby creating a company profile that would attract talented employees.

Once the company has these employees, a good way that human resources departments can limit turnover is to identify the common reasons why employees are leaving and attempt to address them through communication and career planning.

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