Most common route to CHRO revealed

by Nicola Middlemiss07 Oct 2015
HR professionals looking to take on the top job may have a fight on their hands as a recent survey indicated industry outsiders are most likely to bag the coveted c-suite spot.

Research by Aon Hewitt revealed that over half of CHROs are not career HR professionals, with a third having no background in the field prior to taking on the top job.

“CHROs have become critical stakeholders in defining the strategy of a firm, and they are expected to tackle the HR challenges and evolving expectations of a dynamic workplace environment that will consist of constant change, calculated risk-taking and evolving expectations from top stakeholders,” said Neil Shastri, Aon Hewittt’s leader of global insights & innovation.

The study also found that 73% of HR board members had changed industries at least once in their career.

“Those well-equipped to achieve the greatest success will have diverse skill sets, be adaptable and agile, and gain hands-on learning from working through real life situations and acquiring knowledge across disciplines and industries,” Shastri continued.

Two thirds of CHRO respondents said they’d had prior board experience while nearly a quarter (24%) took an assignment outside of HR to develop their business and commercial knowledge.

The report also examined the skills CHROs deemed most critical to success in the role.
  • 84% highlighted executive compensation experience as a key requirement.
  • 67% had worked and lived abroad, and/or led global teams and initiatives.
  • 65% indicated business knowledge as a key competency however this was also among the skills for which CHROs felt least prepared.
Related stories:
Making your mark: surviving the first 100 days in a new CHRO role
Five traits that make a top CHRO
Five capabilities crucial for future CHROs


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