HR Staffing Levels Lagging Workforce Growth

11.06.2015
HR & Safety

Bloomberg BNA recently released its HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2015‒2016 report, the most in-depth source for research and analysis on HR department responsibilities, staffing, expenditures and budgets, influence, priorities, and strategic planning.
“Improvements in the job market over the past year have led to workforce growth that has outpaced HR department staffing levels,” says Tony Harris, managing editor of Human Resource Publications at Bloomberg BNA.
“This means that HR departments are being tasked with supporting more employees, potentially putting a strain on organizational resources.”
Key findings of this year’s survey include:

  • The median ratio of human resources staff to total employee headcount declined to 1.1 full-time equivalent HR employees for every 100 workers served by the human resource department, down from a record high of 1.3 human resource staff members per 100 workers in both 2014 and 2013.
  • Recruitment and retention remain at or near the top of most HR professionals’ agendas, with nearly nine of out of ten respondents saying that hiring and keeping employees are extremely or very important. Controlling healthcare costs was cited by roughly three-quarters of respondents, down from 86% four years ago.
  • The median budgeted change in HR department funding is 4.2%, relatively flat compared to recent years and well up from the 2009‒2011 recession levels, but still far below 1998 to 2007 levels, where median changes were on average 5% or higher.
  • The benefits of economies of scale are substantial for HR departments—on a per capita basis, companies with fewer than 250 employees spend four times as much on the HR function ($3,372 per employee) as organizations with at least 2,500 workers ($816 per employee).

The report is based on a survey of nearly 350 senior human resource executives representing a broad cross-section of U.S. employers.

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