HR Professionals Face Significant Skills Gaps, New Study Reveals

June 18th, 2024 12:00 PM
By: HRmarketer Editorial

A recent study by's HR Research Institute highlights critical skills gaps in the HR function, particularly in strategic thinking and data analytics. The findings underscore the urgent need for HR professionals to enhance their capabilities to meet future workforce challenges.

HR Professionals Face Significant Skills Gaps, New Study Reveals

Human resources professionals are facing significant skills gaps that could hinder their ability to effectively manage the workforce of the future, according to a new study by's HR Research Institute. The research reveals a concerning disconnect between HR's current capabilities and the strategic needs of both workers and organizations.

The study, titled ''s Future of the HR Function 2024,' found that only 30% of HR professionals rate their ability to meet workers' strategic needs highly, scoring eight or above on a 10-point scale. This statistic highlights a critical gap in the HR function's readiness to address evolving workforce demands.

Interestingly, HR professionals appear to be more aligned with senior management than with employees. The study reports that 43% of respondents give high ratings to their ability to meet the needs of their organizations' executives, suggesting a potential misalignment in priorities that could impact overall organizational effectiveness.

Two key areas where HR professionals are falling short are strategic thinking and leveraging HR data/analytics. While 93% of respondents consider strategic thinking essential or important, only 54% believe HR is proficient or highly proficient in this area. The gap is even more pronounced in data analytics, with 64% viewing it as essential or important, but only 32% rating HR as proficient or highly proficient in using data and analytics effectively.

Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of, emphasized the urgency of addressing these skill gaps. 'HR professionals must evolve and adapt to meet the growing strategic needs of their organizations,' she stated. 'Without significant improvements in these reported areas, HR will struggle to support and drive organizational success.'

The implications of these findings are far-reaching for the HR industry and business leadership. As organizations increasingly rely on HR to drive strategic initiatives and navigate complex workforce challenges, the identified skills gaps could potentially hinder business growth and adaptation to future work environments.

To address these challenges, the report recommends immediate action from HR leaders. Key strategies include investing in training and development programs focused on strategic thinking and data analytics, embracing innovative HR technologies to enhance capabilities, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within HR teams.

The study also highlights the need for HR professionals to better align their skills with the needs of the workforce. As the nature of work continues to evolve, particularly in the wake of global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic, HR's ability to anticipate and respond to changing employee needs will be crucial for organizational success.

For HR professionals and business leaders looking to delve deeper into these insights, the full research report,'s Future of the HR Function 2024, is available for free download. Additionally, a recorded presentation of the research findings, titled HR Is Getting More Strategic, But Needs to Make Greater Progress…Quickly!, offers further analysis and recommendations.

As the HR function continues to evolve, addressing these skills gaps will be critical for HR professionals to effectively support their organizations and workforce. By focusing on enhancing strategic thinking capabilities and improving data literacy, HR teams can position themselves as valuable strategic partners in driving organizational success in an increasingly complex business landscape.

Source Statement

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