Note from the ThinkTank: In February, the HR Analytics ThinkTank released a milestone report, What Do Career Paths in HR Analytics Look Like?. Over the next few months we are releasing further mini-analyses based on the same data set, such as this analysis of HR analytics skills by Tanner Marcum below.
What are the most common HR Analytics and People Analytics skills?
What are the skills most commonly held by HR analytics (HRA) professionals? Are HRA professionals all statisticians? Do they have a variety of functional HR skills in addition to their assumed analytical abilities? We have come closer to understanding the answers to these questions by carefully reviewing the career profiles of nearly 200 HRA professionals.
On LinkedIn, users can self-select any number of skills, and their peers can endorse the user for those skills. As we began looking at the skills nearly 200 HRA professionals listed on their own profiles, particularly those skills with higher peer endorsements, three categories emerged: (1) analytic/system skills, (2) HR skills, and (3) business skills. Additionally, LinkedIn users may also determine which top three skills they would like featured first on their profile. Glancing at the skills HRA professionals select to feature first may tell us how they see themselves or indicate which skills they view as most relevant to their HRA role(s).
What type of technical HR analytics skills are the most common?
So, are all HRA professionals SQL wizards? Do they all have to know Python backwards and forwards? The short answer is no. In general, only 13% of HRA professionals indicate some level of proficiency in SQL and 8% in Python. The top three analytic/system skills among the sample of profiles reviewed were HRIS (26%), Excel (23%) and Tableau (15%), indicating that more important for HRA professionals broadly is a working knowledge of their people management software, varying levels of experience and exposure to Microsoft Excel, and an eye for data visualization and reporting.
However, more technical software skills are still important for many HRA professionals, especially if they work within specific HRA roles. For example, the top analytic/system skills of those considered working as data analysts in HRA were SQL (36%), Excel (27%), and R (27%).
What type of HR and business skills do HR analytics professionals have?
Looking briefly at the HR and business skills of HRA professionals, we learned that Recruiting (21%), Talent Management (17%), and Employee Engagement (14%) are some of the most common HR skills of HRA professionals. This is not surprising when we consider that immediately prior to working in an HRA role, of over half (54%) came from other areas within the HR function, and over half of those did generalist work or worked within talent acquisition/retention. Additionally, a glance at the more general business skills HRA professionals shows many are skilled in Project Management (30%), Process Improvement (13%) and Leadership (11%).
How do HR Analytics professionals see themselves, based on their skills?
Finally, we can catch a glimpse of how HRA professionals see themselves by highlighting which skills most often occur within a person’s top three. In our sample, Human Resources (23%), HR Analytics (13%) and Leadership (10%) were most common. Therefore, though more technical than most HR roles, HRA professionals still view themselves very much as HR professionals and often lead their organization’s efforts in the HRA space.
While there is still much to be learned about the skillsets and talents of HRA professionals, a nod to the skills they themselves indicate having does help paint a picture of where the industry sits currently.