Figures from the UK people profession in numbers reveal a huge lack of ethnic diversity in HR with 91% white employees and 9% BAME, compared with an 88%/12% split across the general workforce.
Furthermore, while overall, 60% of the profession is female and 40% is male, this is reversed in leadership roles, where 61% are male and 39% female.
In administrative HR roles, 91% of employees are female.
People with disabilities make up just 11% of HR professionals, rising to 14% in the general workforce.
Speaking to HR magazine CIPD membership director David D'Souza, said: “HR teams need to be diverse in every sense of the word if inclusion and fairness is going to be a genuine priority for organisations.
"We recognise that we need to do more to improve diversity in the HR profession, particularly at a senior level, and have committed to effecting positive change."
To improve diversity in the HR profession, D'Souza said the body would be launching the CIPD Trust in 2022 which aims to improve access to the profession and progression opportunities for underrepresented groups.
"Through the trust, we’ll be increasing the number of bursaries we award for our qualifications and scaling up our Aspiring HRD Mentoring Programme," he added.
Other figures published in the report show that the HR profession grew by 17% in the decade to 2019 with manager and director roles jumping by 57%.
More than half (52%) of those in the industry have degree-level training compared with 35% of the general workforce, while 78% are private-sector employees and 21% public.
Those working full- and part-time are split 82%-18% while in-house HR professionals are far more common than independent practitioners with 82% working directly for an employer.
Geographically speaking, the figures reveal that more HR professionals work in the South East and London, 18% and 16% respectively with other areas representing between two and 10% of the profession.