Apr 18, 2008

HR Careers on the Upswing

From the Wall Street Journal.

As more employees consider changing jobs, demand has increased for senior HR executives who can help keep them. Most HR searches, recruiters say, are still for generalists -- HR managers who have done it all, from compensation design to organizational development to recruiting.

Meanwhile, talent development and management is emerging as a hot specialty. These specialists, some of whom may have backgrounds in recruiting, help identify and groom high performers for future positions through assessment, development and training. The function previously was handled by organization-development executives, but many companies now are splitting it off into a single role, says Greg Hessell, head of recruiter Korn/Ferry's global HR practice.

Against this backdrop of surging demand, pay for HR executives is on the rise. A 2004 survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, New York, found that top human-resources-management executives (whose duties don't include managing labor union relations) earned a median total cash compensation of $220,200, compared with $204,900 the previous year.

Among industries, hedge funds are proving a hot HR area, says Dan Kaplan, a partner in New York with search firm Christian & Timbers. These lightly regulated investment pools for high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors are expanding rapidly. Once their staffs reach about 40 to 45 people, they need to hire an HR executive who can help with recruiting and retention, says Mr. Kaplan.

HR needs people today with two complementary skills, the left brained analytical and financial skills and the right brained creative and relationship skills. Having one set means investing time to build expertise in the other.

HR professionals have had traditionally more relationship skills, and they now need to add analytical and business skills.

What we are going to see is also as the article says, HR people specialising in small high value businesses and the skills needed to succeed there would be very different from being the HR director at large traditional organizations. This reality will soon also play out in India. And it will be a new kind of HR professional who will succeed in such organizations.
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