Does HR Have A Diversity Problem?

In a recent article which appeared on the HR website, the field of HR seems to have a bit of a diversity problem.  HR is mainly dominated by women. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an astounding 73.3% of HR managers are women.  

While some may be tempted to cheer that women are leading the way in the field, TechCrunch reported that, according to one study conducted by McKinsey and Company, that 21% of companies who have greater diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and other factors reported being more profitable over those who are less diverse.

The Root Cause

Karen Crone, chief human resources officer at Paycor told HR Dive in an interview that because since the 1970’s, HR focused on tasks that were more administrative in nature, women came to dominate the field. “The function matured through much more of an employee relations, administrative, compliance function,” Crone said, “which, at the time, lended itself more to females in the workplace than perhaps men. It wasn’t considered to be competitive like sales or analytical like an engineer.”

Over the past few decades, the workplace changed and the field of HR changed along with it. Crone describes the changes as going away from something that was in the back office of an organization to a part of the business that is in the forefront – especially as the demand for skilled workers continues to be increasingly competitive.

Steve Browne, executive director of HR for LaRosa’s Inc. for those seeking to enter the field advises that regardless of gender, there’s room for those a wide range of different skill sets in HR.  Young people with an eye on HR as a potential career field, being strong enough to stand up and provide a different perspective to leaders in their organizations; those are the kinds of individuals who may find that HR is just right career choice for them.