Nearly 75% of HR managers are women, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. But a few decades back, men dominated the profession at a time when the manufacturing industry and unions were strong, says Jeff Kortes, an employee retention consultant.
The profession focused on two areas--personnel and industry or labor relations. "One side was more shuffling paperwork and the other side was where the rubber met the road," Kortes said. "It was the grievances, the negotiations--those kinds of things, and those were the jobs that paid well."
But with the subsequent decline of labor unions and manufacturing, and retirement of men who handled labor relations, these men's assistants, mostly women, started taking on greater responsibilities, Kortes said. HR's focused shifted more to administration and personnel, an area that men looked down upon.
As HR gained more respect with companies prioritizing recruitment, retention and development, the profession is likely to attract more men. But Steve Browne, executive director of HR for LaRosa's Inc, warns that men who take a black and white approach to problems will not be a good fit for the profession.
Successful HR leaders need to be both "accountable and empathetic," and embrace compassion and self-awareness. "If you have those characteristics, HR is the field for you," Browne said.Last modified on Saturday, 19 January 2019