Transformative shift: Women make up majority of Australia’s HR profession

The HR profession in Australia is also shifting towards an advisory role, with line managers assuming traditional HR responsibilities.
By: | March 17, 2023

In less than five decades, Australia’s HR profession has gone from having less than 10% of female representation in 1976 to 84% of the workforce made up by women in 2022, according to the 2023 State of the Human Resource Profession report by the Deakin Business School.

The report also found that although HR professionals tend to stay in the industry for extended periods, they often move between roles and organisations. Almost half of the 390 respondents surveyed for the report said they have been in the current position for less than two years.

The HR profession is transitioning towards a more advisory or consulting role, with line managers expected to take on more traditional HR responsibilities. HR professionals are increasingly taking an advisory approach, working with managers to help them handle issues themselves.

HR teams are expanding in numbers as a wider skilled workforce is required, said Dr Justine Ferrer, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management in the Department of Management in Deakin Business School, and lead author of the report.

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Teams are also more focused on people, as she explained, “The shift to the people function suggests that people are at the core of what needs to be done for the organisation, and this is in line with the shift in focus of HR to people related supports, such as employee wellbeing.”

Organisations are actively prioritising their employees’ health and wellbeing to attract and retain talent, at a time when a skills crisis has made it more challenging to find the right employees, the report concluded.