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Career Factbook for HR and Learning Professionals Offered Courtesy of Bersin & Associates

Oakland, CA – July 8, 2009 -- Bersin & Associates, the only research and advisory firm focused on enterprise learning and talent management, today announced the publication of The Career Factbook for HR and Learning Professionals. The Factbook is an in-depth analysis of the demographics and characteristics of today’s human resources and learning profession. This study was designed with the particular goal of helping HR and L&D professionals and executives understand what really drives success, job satisfaction, career growth, compensation, and engagement. The Factbook can be downloaded for free by visiting

Professionals can use the data in this report to compare themselves and team members to professionals worldwide and to learn what skills and experiences translate into professional success. The findings will help professionals: advance their HR careers by better understanding the career progression and different paths of HR and learning professionals and executives; identify professional development needs by role and career level; compare compensation in HR and L&D roles; and educate business leaders and others who work with HR and learning professionals about the profession.

"It’s not surprising that the HR and learning profession is under great stress, given downsizing and restructuring taking place throughout business today," said Josh Bersin, president. "Surprisingly, the biggest challenge facing HR and L&D leaders is not a lack of resources, but rather, the lack of support and engagement from business leaders. The biggest challenge to the profession is building strong business alignment, credibility throughout the enterprise, and business acumen within the HR and L&D ranks."

The Factbook is based on data provided by approximately 1,300 survey respondents. Bersin & Associates estimates that approximately 1.2 million employees in the United States work in jobs related to corporate HR and learning.

Following are representative findings:

  • HR and learning professionals are highly motivated by a desire to help people, improve their organizations, and gain the respect of their organizations. Compensation is a relatively low driver of job satisfaction in most areas of the profession.
  • Experience, rather than education, is the biggest differentiator between executives and practitioners in the HR and learning profession. Most executives have line-of-business experience and emphasize skills such as planning, communication, and budgeting.
  • The profession is comprised of highly educated individuals. Thirty-four percent of respondents have bachelor’s degrees, 51% have master’s degrees, and 7% have doctorate degrees. Generally, individuals are highly tenured. More than 40% have fifteen or more years in the profession; 66% have ten years or more. Sixty-two percent of individuals in the profession are female; yet senior HR and learning executives are more likely to be male.
  • Average compensation ranges $67,381 for those with two to five years of experience to $115,200 for those with 15 or more years of experience. Managers can expect to earn 7% more than non-managers, directors can expect to earn 42% more than managers, and vice presidents and other senior executives can expect to earn 25 to 30% more than directors. But, it’s important to note that compensation is near the bottom of the list of motivators for those in the HR and learning profession.
  • Professionals highly value talent management software, learning management software, assessment solutions, and executive coaches as important support resources for their organizations. Applicant tracking systems, HR technology consultants, and strategic HR consultants were rated lowest in perceived value.

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning, talent management, and talent acquisition. The company’s WhatWorks® membership program is designed to deliver actionable and practical guidance and to improve operational effectiveness and business impact.

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses designed to assist professionals in making fast and confident decisions. Members also have direct access to analysts and a wide range of tested tools and models to address both strategic and day-to-day challenges. More than 5,000 organizations have used Bersin & Associates’ research to guide talent and corporate learning strategies.

Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, leadership development and succession planning, talent acquisition, technology and infrastructure, informal learning, social networking, measurement and analytics. For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622, extension 223.