Job Security: Confidence Is High Among HR Professionals

Job Security: Confidence Is High Among HR Professionals

Mike Roberts

Considering how close human resources is to recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and even letting employees go, they’re not typically the first group that comes to mind when we think of job security. But a recent study from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) looked into this. They asked HR professionals how confident they were in terms of job security.

Overall, 3 in 4 respondents said they were not concerned at all. This is good news, because in 2014 nearly 40% of respondents said they were anxious about keeping their jobs. Additionally, 88% reported that if they did lose their job, they have some degree of certainty that they’d land a new one.

Here’s an excerpt from HR Magazine, which visualized some of SHRM’s findings:

job security hr professionals
As you can see, early-in-their-career HR professionals are the least concerned about job security. 85% were not concerned at all about losing their job. Mid-career and senior HR personnel showed a bit more concern. Almost 8 in 10 HR executives weren’t concerned at all. Interesting, no HR executives were “very concerned.”

The study noted above also looked into the most in-demand HR jobs right now. Ranking above all was HR generalist, followed by recruitment, administration, and benefits professionals.

Workforce Trends and HR Job Security

We’ve been following workforce trends for a while now. The increasing awareness and investment in areas like culture, diversity, employee engagement, employee wellness, candidate experience, learning management, employer branding, benefits management, and so many more all point to a positive future for HR professionals.

In many ways, we feel as though the topic of employer branding is a driving force behind companies investing more in their HR processes and programs. It’s more difficult than ever to hide being a poor employer. And at the same time, the opportunity for capitalizing on being a good employer has never been greater—thanks to employer review sites like Glassdoor.

Of course, employer branding is not the only driving force. There are also benefits to improving each of the areas listed above. For instance, a better onboarding program tends to lead to less turnover, a higher quality of hire, and happier employees. Better candidate experience means lower time to fill, lower recruiting costs, and so on. We could create tons of examples for each HR discipline.

HR Job Security and Automation

Not to bring a dark cloud into the conversation, but one important topic that comes to mind when discussing HR job security is automation.

To date, automation has not had an enormous impact in terms of replacing HR workers with software or robots. But the ironic thing is that those early-in-their-career professionals that have the most job security confidence are likely the most susceptible to being replaced by automation.

One study from 2013, “The Future Of Employment: How susceptible Are Jobs To computerization?” used a number of factors to determine which types of jobs are most likely to be replaced by automation. The study found that “human resources assistants” have a 90% probability of being replaced at some point.

On the other hand, though, “human resources training and labor relations specialists” have a 31% chance of being replaced, and “human resources managers” have only a 0.5% chance of being replaced.

Although a 90% probability of being replaced sounds incredibly high, the study focused on “human resources assistants,” which could really mean many things. And, assistants in general are some of the first types of professionals to be automated out of jobs regardless of the business function. Startups are popping up all over the place right now in 2016, where virtual assistants are helping business people function better.

HR Job Security Over the Long Term

We will be keeping an eye on the topic of job security as we move toward 2017 and beyond. There’s not much need to worry about automation right now. In fact, the job market is looking very strong for HR professionals. But automation is at the very least something to be aware of.

It is not surprising that HR managers ranked low on the automation susceptibility scale, because they provide a very human service to companies that would be difficult to replicate via computer programming or robotics.

In the long-term, the best chance to avoid being replaced by automation is gaining experience, as well as developing a specialization. All of the areas listed above, culture, diversity, employee engagement, employee wellness, candidate experience, learning management, employer branding, and benefits management (and there are many more) are already providing additional job security to some professionals who have specialized in them.

We live in a time where you advancing your personal skill-set is easier than ever. Online courses, workshops, and more are really just a click away.

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