Who gets the top job?

April 2010
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Changes in the attributes of top HR leaders and implications for the future

At a glance

The change in direction of the US economy associated with the great recession offers an opportunity to rethink where many aspects of business are headed. Perhaps no functional area has gone through more turmoil than human resources.

Changes in the attributes of top HR leaders and implications for the future

The change in direction of the US economy associated with the Great Recession offers an opportunity to rethink where many aspects of business are headed. Perhaps no functional area has gone through more turmoil than human resources: From hiring and retention frenzies in the late 1990s to downsizing after 2001 back to hiring and retention issues combined with an intense focus on metrics/performance followed again by sharp downsizing in 2009.

The changes have been so rapid that it is difficult to track the broader, long-term trends in the competencies that are required in human resources. In this PwC-sponsored study, Dr. Peter Cappelli and Yang Yang of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Center for Human Resources discuss how the human resources function has and will change. In particular, they examine how the backgrounds of the individuals holding top HR roles have changed as an indicator of how the function itself is changing.