Human Resource Experts Are Ambitious Learners Compared to Colleagues, Says New Study

Human Resources (HR) professionals tend to be highly educated, but only a fraction have the experience and training needed to be true experts, according to a new report released by The study highlights some key differences between true experts and other HR professionals.

The research report, “The State of HR Skills and Education 2018”, is based on new industry research by, in partnership with BambooHR, a leading provider of HR technology for small and medium-sized businesses, and is now available for download. It is based on responses from 1,276 HR professionals participating in an exclusive survey. The research goals were to:

– investigate the levels of education for today’s HR professionals
– inquire about perceived levels of HR proficiency
– gain insights into types and numbers of certifications
– assess investments into HR career development
– highlight number of years of experience
– determine which skills are most highly associated with professional success

Results found that HR professionals tend to be highly educated. Almost 90% of respondents have a postsecondary degree and over 40% have a postgraduate degree. However, only about a quarter of respondents rate themselves as HR experts, while another 46% rate themselves as proficient.

“It’s tough to become a true HR expert,” said Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of “It typically takes at least ten years, and even then it’s not guaranteed. Experts tend to be aggressive and ambitious in keeping their skills up-to-date, getting certifications, and developing solid business skills.”

Accomplished HR experts are much more likely than their less competent HR colleagues to attend educational HR events, get HR-related memberships and earn HR-related certifications.They are also considerably more likely to read HR-related magazines and teach others HR-related skills.

Among the skills they develop consistently are general business skills. Only about 40% of HR professionals who rated themselves as competent (or less) saw general business skills as very important. For professionals who rate themselves as experts, however, that number leaps to 60%.

DOWNLOAD REPORT: The State of HR Skills and Education 2018: How HR professionals use educational resources, certifications and skills development to ensure success

About BambooHR
Serving more than 10,000 customers and 900,000 employees, BambooHR is the leading software provider powering the strategic evolution of HR in small and medium businesses. BambooHR’s cloud-based system is an intuitive, affordable way for growing companies to manage essential employee information in a personalized Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Its software sets HR free to do great work and be more strategic, which helps the entire organization do the same. BambooHR’s clients include innovators like SoundCloud, Foursquare, Freshbooks, Stance, Reddit, Magnolia Homes and others in more than 100 countries and 11 languages worldwide. To find out more, visit or follow on Twitter at @BambooHR.

About strives to help create inspired workforces by making HR professionals smarter. Over 1,100,000 HR professionals turn to as the trusted resource for education, career development, and compliance: thousands of lessons and tips in the HR Genius on-demand training library, 400+ webcasts yearly, the largest HR certification exam preparation practice supporting SHRM and HRCI certification, a legal compliance guidance program, 12 monthly themed interactive HR epublications, and 35+ primary research reports. offers the best training and networking for HR professionals globally 24/7/365.

For more information, contact:

Debbie McGrath
Chief Instigator and CEO,