and globalization,” continues Duffy Moravek, “they are facing challenges that cause them to continue to hire in human resources. Business and engineering schools are really taking a hit. Organizations seem to be deciding, ‘We don’t need 10 more M.B.A.s, but we need [human resources help].’ We graduate up to 50 students from our master’s program. In 2003, 98% found employment before or shortly after graduation.” The school’s bachelor’s program graduates about 190 students annually.
Greg Hessel runs the human resources practices unit of Korn/Ferry International from its Dallas office. Korn/Ferry places human resources executives at the highest levels and fills middle management positions through its Futurestep subsidiary. “We consider our human resources practice as the second-highest priority, second to our CEO and board of directors practice. We have 20 people worldwide dedicated to the human resources practice, with the United Kingdom, Mexico, Latin America, and the U.S. [as] the most active markets.
“Overall activity has remained steady through the economic downturn,” continues Hessel, who notes that his company did not see a reduction in requests, as did industries like technology, certain industrials, or retail. He did see the approach to human resources change. “The [human resources] jobs became more difficult, and individuals who were not able to be that ‘business partner executive’ were revealed. A lot of what we were doing was replacing talent that failed. As senior leadership teams have shrunk, it has put more responsibility on [human resources] to deliver in helping companies run in more efficient, effective ways.” Life science, including pharmaceuticals, major hospitals, and university systems, have been the most active. There has also been more human resources demand in financial services, Hessel says, with opportunities primarily in organizational management and development functions. “I’ve also seen a bounce in compensation as executives seek to retain strong [human resources] professionals.”
According to the 2002 Bureau of Labor Statistics: Of 677,000 human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists, 31% were in the training and development functions; 30% were human resources managers; 25% were employment, recruitment, and placement specialists; and 13% worked in compensation, benefits, and job analysis functions.
U.S. Census predictions indicate that human resources employment will grow 21% to 35% through 2012. African Americans comprised 12% of specialists employed in human resources training and labor relations, and women comprised 67%.
Human resources services organizations are now proliferating as companies outsource certain functions. “Outsourcing benefits, training, organizational development, clerical staffing, payroll processing, and human resources information systems is a hot trend today and will accelerate as companies continue to cut costs,” explains Joanne Robinson, president of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (www.naaahr.org). Founded in 1998, its members total about 1,000 across 25 chapters.
Robinson, who has 25 years of human resources experience, runs R&R Associates, a part-time consulting firm. She is one of approximately 4,000 independent consultants.
Another trend to watch