Has The Human Resources Industry Become A Gender Ghetto?

According to new research from Canada, 72% of persons employed in HR are women. Although 72% of survey respondents were of the opinion it would be a good thing for the HR profession if there was a better balance in gender representation, 50% were of opinion that the high proportion of women in human resources was something the profession should be concerned about. Some HR professionals even believe the majority of women in the field could actually be making it a “gender ghetto” industry.

The study was done with  1,354 HR professionals who had a median of 12 years of experience in HR and worked for organizations with a median of 560 employees. Although not a scientific sample, the demographics of the survey respondents suggested that it was representative of the population of HR professionals in Canada. Respondents in the survey commented that the fact that women dominate in HR can be good and bad. On the one hand, people were pleased HR had become the main path available to women to attain senior positions in organizations, but others were more concerned that HR had become a gender ghetto. A number of people noted that the HR profession was moving away from “female” values and moving more towards “male” values because the industry is shifting toward a focus on business orientation and quantification.

About half (52%) said the HR profession should actively recruit more men into the profession, and 46% of respondents said professional HR associations should develop and implement specific action plans to redress the gender imbalance in HR. People felt that bringing more men in would help compensation and recognition increase for the profession. Basically the study found that gender representation is inextricably linked to the fundamental values of HR. With any industry so dominated by one sex, I suppose that will easily happen.

But before we start special recruitment campaigns to get more men into HR remember  that there is still an imbalance in favor of men at the most senior levels in our profession, according to the survey. The survey wasn’t even designed to look for this kind of data but it came a lot in the comment section.

Photo: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

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