From the moment I took my seat at my first ever HR lecture as a uni student some (gulp) twenty years ago, it hit me that my new profession was one much more likely to be chosen by women than men. In more recent times I have attended or heard of HR events with very little attendance by men and have observed that in HR teams men are often very under-represented.

This piqued my curiosity, so I set about finding out the facts regarding the gender composition of today's HR profession.

I tapped into data from the 2011 Census and found that just fewer than two-thirds of employees (65.6%) who work in Human Resources in Australia are female. This includes recruitment, HR, L&D, employee relations etc.

Breaking this down further the data shows that 78.8% of 'HR Clerks' (the ABS' descriptor) are female.

Of 'HR Professionals' (e.g. HR Advisors, HR Business Partners, recruiters etc) in Australia, 71.9% are female.

The gender split for 'Training and Development Professionals' was less pronounced, comprising 57.7% females.

No surprises so far - women still predominate the HR workforce in Australia.

The final category provided in the HR data is 'HR Managers'. What proportion of HR Managers would you expect are female given the data above?

Well, the data shows that just 57.8% of HR Managers are female.

To put it another way, just 31.1% of non-managerial HR employees are male but they comprise 42.2% of all HR Managers.

These statistics raise many questions including why are comparatively so few men working in HR, and does it matter?

Why is the predominance of females in HR administration and in particular HR Professional roles (the main pathway to promotion) not seen to the same extent in HR Manager positions?

With HR often playing a large role in championing diversity and gender equity within organisations, it seems we still have plenty of work to do with our own profession.

Data source: ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing

AuthorMichael Sleap
CategoriesHuman Resources