Being data-driven is a business imperative for many organisations and the CIPD believes it is a key part of understanding the present and informing the future. These graphics, produced using statistics from the ONS and Croner, provide a fascinating snapshot of the people profession in the UK, including its size, demographics and salary variations. The analysis aims to identify the current state of the profession and offers an insight into how HR is likely to evolve in the future. The information will be updated annually to track trends across the industry.

Key findings

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The people profession has grown since 2009

The size of the people profession has grown by 17% between 2009 to 2019 and now accounts for around 1.6% of the total workforce.

In particular, there has been an increase in the number of senior roles within the profession, with HR manager and director roles having grown by 57%.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through NOMIS (1)


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The majority of people professionals are employed in the private sector

78% of people professionals work in the private sector, compared with 21% in the public sector.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service (3)


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People in senior roles are more likely to work full-time

82% of people professionals work full-time and 18% work part-time. Those in senior roles are more likely to work full-time.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service (3)



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People professionals are more likely to work in-house 

The majority of people professionals (89%) work in-house – only 11% work independently.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service (3)



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More people professionals work in the South East and London

The number of people professionals working across UK regions reflects the general population distribution. However, in comparison to all occupations, the people profession is over-represented in the South East (18%) and London (16%), which may reflect the location of head offices.

View the map in detail

Source: Annual population survey accessed through NOMIS


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More than half of people professionals have a degree qualification

52% of people professionals have been trained to degree level, compared to 35% of the whole workforce.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service



Infobite showing 85% of employers unprepared for EU labour restrictions

The people profession has more female professionals overall

Overall, 60% of the profession is female and 40% is male. This split is still reflected in more senior roles (61% are female and 39% are male) but is much more pronounced in junior roles, where 91% of those in HR administrative roles are female, compared to just 9% of men.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through NOMIS (2)


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The people profession is slightly less ethnically diverse than the general workforce

91% of people professionals are white and 9% BAME. This compares to 88% in the workforce as a whole versus 12%.

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service (3)


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11% of people professionals have a disability 

The percentage of those with a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) in the people profession is slightly lower than in the workforce as a whole (14%).

Source: Annual population survey accessed through the secure research service (3)



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There is a large salary variation within the industry

Median salaries across all roles in the profession range from £18,372- £115,953.

These are overall medians, and there will be salary variation according to region, industry and level of responsibility in role. 

View the chart in detail

Source: Croner’s Salary Search software, accessed June 2021 


Sources

1  ONS (2019) Annual Population Survey, viewed 30 July 2019

2  Office for National Statistics, Social Survey Division, 2019, Annual Population Survey, 2004-2018: Secure Access, [data collection], UK Data Service, 14th Edition, Accessed 13 January 2020. SN: 6721.

3  Figures reproduced with permission of Croner salary benchmarking (accessed June 2021). 

This work was produced using statistical data from ONS. The use of the ONS statistical data in this work does not imply the endorsement of the ONS in relation to the interpretation or analysis of the statistical data. This work uses research data sets which may not exactly reproduce National Statistics aggregates. All ONS data was accessed in November 2019.

All figures on this page are reported to one decimal place.

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