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Most HR professionals fulfilled by their careers

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The majority (79%) of UK HR professionals have said that their career progression expectations have either been met or exceeded, rising by 6% since 2020.

The percentage of practitioners that feel the profession offers a meaningful career has also risen since last year.

According to the CIPD’s People Profession 2021 report, 86% of those in the UK say a career in HR is meaningful compared to 80% in 2020.


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Most (76%) in the UK agreed that they understand how to gain personal meaning from work, and nearly two-thirds (63%) said they believe what they do brings others happiness.

The number of HR professionals that believe HR is a steppingstone into other business areas is comparatively low, with under half (46%) of people professionals in the UK in agreement.

Speaking to HR magazine Sarah Loates, director of Loates HR Consultancy, said professionals not seeing HR as a good route into other areas could be down to misonception.

"The view that HR is not a steppingstone into other business areas, could be down to the selection myth that you must have sector or industry specific experience," Loates said.

"Once you understand a business and its people, HR knowhow and experience is transferable, as an HR consultancy we operate across myriad of sectors and industries."

With 25 years in the industry, she added that she has found her work rewarding.

"Specifically the intrinsic reward of helping both managers and employees.

"Running my own business has also allowed my team and me to give back to the community I operate my business in, which is very important to me.”

Responding to the challenges of the pandemic, half (50%) of HR professionals said they had upskilled over the last year.

CIPD chief executive, Peter Cheese, commented on the exceptional year HR has had.

He said: “The difficult external circumstances put great demand on all of us, and people professionals have been at the forefront of the organisational response, supporting people, implementing rapid changes, and adapting and learning,” he said.

“It’s great to see so many colleagues recognising the need to strengthen their skills and ensure they have the right expertise to guide and make an impact in their organisations in an ever-changing world of work.”

Loates added that it is unsurprising many people professionals now see more meaning in their work.

“Over the last 18 months HR professionals up and down the country have worked tirelessly, so it is no surprise that respondents describe an HR career as meaningful," she said.

"Likewise, the perfect storm of the pandemic and Brexit, has turbo charged many HR professional’s development, in terms of responsibility, creative thinking and innovation."

Almost three fifths (57%) of professionals in the UK said HR plays a vital role in influencing organisational strategy and direction.

The degree to which professionals agree with this statement varies depending on UK respondents’ organisational role.

The majority (71%) who hold strategic roles said they have a vital role influencing an organisation’s direction, compared to 62% of those who have more delivery-focused roles and half of those who work operationally on a day-to-day level.

UK findings of the People Profession 2021 report are based on a sample of 1,504 HR professionals, through a YouGov survey during May and June this year.