HR pros look to jump ship even while enticing others to join

Companies rely on HR to find innovative programs to attract new employees. What those organizations may not realize is that HR itself is looking at greener pastures.

HR pros spend an average of 2.63 years at their jobs, according to the “HR Careers Report 2019” by Namely — an HR software company based in New York.

“If HR departments are understaffed, under-resourced, or seen as purely administrative rather than a voice at the table, it’s likely that individual representatives will look to transition to other, more people-centric businesses,” the report said.

Authors of the report said seniority made a difference in how long individuals stayed in their role. Average tenure was calculated using both entry and leadership positions, the report said. Non-leadership HR positions — including entry level — had a lower tenure than the average: 2.21 years. The tenure rate was slightly higher for HR management positions, who stayed at their jobs for 3.49 years.

young worker millnennial
Trevor Lynn, chief marketing officer at Social Tables Inc., works at his desk at the company's headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Success stories like Trevor Lynn’s are going to get rarer as older businesses overshadow start-ups in U.S. job creation. Millennials, those born after 1980, may find it more difficult to quickly scale career ladders as new businesses, which tend to employ more young workers, become a smaller force in the labor market. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Trevor Lynn

“Once you reach the manager level, it makes sense that you’re likely invested in your team and direct reports,” the report said. “Not to mention, manager positions likely receive higher compensation and more influence among key decision makers.”

Larger companies generally produce higher HR turnover rates, the report said. When an HR team has between one to four employees, HR pros stay for an average of 3.24 years, the report says. While teams with over 40 HR employees stay for a little over a year — the report’s authors say this is because there are less opportunities for lower level HR pros to advance.

“Larger HR teams tend to evolve into a set of highly specialized roles at all levels, from temporary interns and contract staff all the way up,” the report said. “Growing HR teams are also indicative of broader company growth, especially when scaling talent acquisition to keep up with hiring needs. As a result, the organization as a whole ebbs and flows.”

Instead of getting boxed into one role, HR pros at smaller companies wear many hats — and that’s why they stay, according to an report says.

Instead of getting boxed into one role, HR pros at smaller companies wear many hats — and that’s why they stay, the report says.

“In small companies, even an entry level HR specialist plays an important and strategic role in the employee experience,” the report said. “That sense of purpose is hard to replicate, and it may be fueling long-term retention."

Regardless of company size, HR careers, in general, have very healthy salaries, the report says. The average HR salary is about $95,000 a year. Managers earn about $135,000. All other positions make about $76,000.

However, only manager salaries increased with company size, the data said. At companies with 300-500 employees, HR managers could earn as much as $148,838 — the highest average salary in Namely’s database.

For lower skill levels, the answer to a higher salary wasn’t so simple. Non-manager employees earned the most at companies with 1-50 employees or ones with over 750 employees, the report said. These employees earn the least at companies with between 50-750 workers.

“As overall headcount grows, managers and non-managers alike should use these findings to inform potential career moves, like deciding to pursue an internal promotion or a move to another company,” the report said.

Namely surveyed their database of over 1,000 employers to compile the report.

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