Human Resources (HR) has come a long way over the last century, but the outlook for its future is uncertain. The HR Research Institute, a division of, recently conducted the second annual longitudinal study to investigate and track the state of the HR function. The newly released research report, The Advancing HR Function 2019, reveals that most HR departments are poorly prepared for the near future and will need to quickly adjust.

Only about a third (36%) give their departments high marks when it comes to being prepared to thrive in the next three to five years. One of the key concerns for HR professionals is that the profession tends to suffer from major skills gaps in three key areas: communicating effectively, demonstrating leadership, and leveraging HR data/analytics.

“HR’s first order of business is to skill up,” stated Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of “They need to become better strategists, analysts, business partners and leaders with great communication skills.”

Almost half of HR professionals (46%) believe that HR will be transformed into a more strategic function as it leverages automation and outsourcing. The research also indicates that, compared to last year, cloud-based and other HR technologies are on the rise, indicating that HR professionals need to become even more technology-savvy to excel at their jobs.

The report includes comparisons of two cohorts, high-performing HR functions and low-performing HR functions. Key takeaways from these comparisons highlight what HR departments will need to do in the near future to increase productivity and success for their businesses overall.

For more information on the Advancing HR Function in 2019 survey and to gain key strategic takeaways from this exclusive industry research, the full report and corresponding infographic is available for download now (always free):


The survey was fielded from February to April 2019. There were complete responses from 343 participating HR professionals representing a broad cross-section of employers.


About and the HR Research Institute
The HR Research Institute operates as’s research arm. is committed to creating inspired and informed workforces by maximizing the potential of HR professionals around the world. Over 1.2 million HR professionals rely on as the foremost, trusted industry resource for education, career development, and compliance. Offerings include 85+ primary research reports from the HR Research Institute, 400+ annual webcasts, the most comprehensive HR certification exam preparation program supporting SHRM and HRCI certification, legal compliance guidance programming, an on-demand training library housing thousands of lessons and tips, and 13 monthly-themed and interactive HR ePublications. and

For more information, contact:
Debbie McGrath
Chief Instigator and CEO,