Are the HR trenches the best place to be in 2012?

Battle of Moscow





Could the HR trenches be the best possible place you could find yourself (at least when it comes to your work life) in 2012?

US jobs website CareerCast last week rated Human Resources Manager as number three in its countdown of the 10 best jobs of 2012/2013 (which highlights “those occupations that ranked the best in five key areas: Work Environment, Physical Demands, Job Outlook, Income Levels and Stress.”)

But even CareerCast thinks it may be guilty of underrating the desirability of HR Manager roles.



The HR Manager’s lot in 2012: “Low-to-moderate stress levels”?


The role of HR Manager is a new entrant on CareerCast’s annual ranking of the best jobs in the US, due to its status as a role offering “a combination of high incomes, great environments, good job growth and relatively low unemployment rates.” CareerCast says:


Employment growth for  Human Resources Managers is projected to be a very healthy 21% thru 2020, which is on par with most medical professions, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you mix their job outlook scores with their income levels (19th on our Jobs Rated list) and throw in the low physical demands, relatively safe work environment and low-to-moderate stress levels, HR Managers should rightly be listed as a Best Job.

Why did you choose HR as a career?

Latest XpertHR Benchmarking research on HR careers, however, suggests that the factors identified by CareerCast are comparatively unlikely to have motivated HR professionals in the UK in their career choice.

Indeed, it would appear to be the case that UK HR professionals are much more likely to have been motivated in their choice of career by the prospect of meeting interesting people than by the lure of money

Chance leads to HR

The most common reason given for beginning an HR career among UK HR professionals surveyed by XpertHR was that it happened “by chance.”

WhyHRXpertHRBenchmarking2012.jpg

Other common reasons for entering the HR profession include:

  • wanting to work with people;
  • being asked to take on HR responsibilities in a previous role; and
  • HR representing a “natural progression” from a previous role.

The chart above provides the complete list of reasons why UK HR practitioners say they chose HR as a career.



Perhaps tellingly, the least commonly cited reason for taking up a career in HR is that it “pays well.”

How did you find your way into HR?

How do the above findings square with your own route into the HR profession?

And what do you make of CareerCast’s assessment of the role of HR Manager as offering “a combination of high incomes, great environments, good job growth and relatively low unemployment rates?”

I’d love to find out!

Please share your experiences via the comments box below, or get in touch via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

More on HR careers

The XpertHR survey of HR careers in 2011/2012 is based on responses from 668 UK HR professionals. Subscribers to XpertHR Benchmarking can drill down into the complete benchmarking data from the survey.

Comments

Here we reproduce the comments on this post submitted by readers of XpertHR Employment Intelligence:

Hmmm…

I love that the number one reason for working in HR is ‘wanting to work with people’, though in my experience I think HR could and should get out more. That is to say spend time with the people they are serving, as well as their colleagues. Last year I did some work with a customer and operational folk in the business said that the most valuable thing HR could do that it wasn’t already doing was spend time with the teams they support.

Re: trenches, I feel far less enthused. I’ve been to Vimy Ridge and stood in the trenches. I’ve visited the Mother Canada memorial nearby and cried for the pointless loss of life. I hope I never have to serve in the trenches, I aspire for us all to serve somewhere more peaceful.

Posted by Doug Shaw | April 16, 2012 10:27 AM

Thank you for the excellent comment, Doug.

Your words about this perceived need for HR to “get out more” and to “spend time with the people they are serving, as well as their colleagues” put me in mind of @onatrainagain’s great post from this time last year, in our “If I could change one thing about HR…” series, which touched on this very topic.

I’d be extremely interested to hear how the comments that Doug received last year – to the effect that “the most valuable thing HR could do that it wasn’t already doing was spend time with the teams they support” – resonates with the experience of other XpertHR readers. Do you feel that HR in general needs to “get out more,” and to put in more – to coin a phrase – “face time” with colleagues and/or employees? Please feel free to share your own views and experiences here.

And thank you for your lovely words about the pointless loss of life at the trenches of Vimy Ridge, Doug. My intention in referring to “the HR trenches” in this post was definitely not intended to make light of the experiences of those who have fought in those and other trenches.

Rather, I was alluding to the US-based “Trench HR” movement, which provides an online community for those who find themselves in the metaphorical “trenches” of the HR profession.

One of the foremost members of the US “Trench HR” movement is the excellent Charlie Judy (@HRFishbowl on Twitter), who shares a huge variety of outstanding content via the #TrenchHR hashtag on Twitter. You can also follow @TrenchHR on Twitter.

I sincerely apologise if my reference to “the HR trenches” in this post has caused you any offence or upset though, sir. That is as far from my intentions as it is possible to be.

Michael

Posted by Michael Carty Author Profile Page | April 16, 2012 11:09 AM

Michael – the trenches term is common parlance, no offence taken whatsoever on my part, I’m just adding to the mix is all :)

Posted by Doug Shaw | April 16, 2012 11:23 AM

Thank you, Doug.

Michael

Posted by Michael Carty Author Profile Page | April 16, 2012 11:27 AM

‘Are the HR trenches the best place to be?’. No, they aren’t.

Posted by Kevin Ball | April 16, 2012 12:22 PM

Brilliantly and succinctly put, sir.

Are there any particular reasons why you don’t think the HR trenches are the best place to be?

Michael

Posted by Michael Carty Author Profile Page | April 16, 2012 12:28 PM

I don’t look at the “trenches” as a bad thing. I look at it as – being where people are. Too often we practice HR at an arm’s length. I would much rather be right in the mix of the battle to take in everything that people are experiencing. That way they know that I’m not some beauracrat barking orders from the safety of my desk. It’s imperative that we are on the front lines with our folks. I know Kevin and Doug feel that way as well. This excites me and I must leave to gather my mount and head to the lines !!

Posted by Steve Browne | April 16, 2012 5:03 PM

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