HR Grapevine: How many employees report to a single HR practitioner?

An extract from another interesting article from the team at "HR Grapevine". Click on the link to find our more or register for their regular updates:

How many workers can one HR practitioner effectively work with? Whilst the answer may well depend on a myriad of unique factors such as the type of organisation, workplace pressure and company profitability, new research conducted by XpertHR has found that the average number currently hovers at around one HR practitioner to 60 employees – this is about half the number of employees compared with 2007 figures.

The early stages of the recession in 2007 yielded the highest ratio of HR professionals to employees ever recorded – with an average of 118 employees for every one HR practitioner, according to the study. The figure showed a significant fall following the recession of 2008, which was likely reflecting the volume of redundancies affecting non-HR employees.

And whilst the period of fluctuation around 2007-8 drastically affected HR, nearly half of the 342 organisations polled in the study say that the number of HR staff they employ has not changed over the past two years, whilst two-fifths have reported a notable increase.

Among the latter group, more than two-thirds say that increased HR staffing levels were driven by a constantly growing workload. Yet whilst XperHR claims that the median number of employees per HR professional is 65.2 in 2019 - compared with 59.7 in 2018 - HR practitioners in the public sector are still by far the most under-resourced department with one representative covering an average of 90.1 employees.

This is a stark comparison to the private sector, where one HR representative covers just 60 employees on average.

How does HR spend its money?

The study covered various areas in the HR functionality, including budget. According to the research, the running costs of the median HR department are around £672.73 per year. This is as much as 43% up year-on-year from 2017. Regardless of budget increases, over 22% of departments actually exceeded their budget in 2018, whilst one in five actually underspent.

Yet, for the fourth year running, nearly half of all respondents confirmed that their HR function doesn’t have its own budget. In 2015, that figure stood at around 46%.