HR ranks low for analytical expertiseNews added by Benefits Pro on October 24, 2013

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By Dan Cook

Looking for expertise down the corporate corridors? You’ll find it in finance and the corner office. But not in HR or sales.

That’s the conclusion of an American Management Association survey of 800 respondents from across 50 industries who participated in “Conquering Big Data: A Study of Analytical Skills in the Workplace.”

Experts designed the survey to determine “how prepared organizations are to compete in an age of Big Data” by asking about the relative analytical skills of various corporate departments. AMA said analytical skills will become ever more critical to a corporation’s success in the coming years.

AMA asked respondents to rate them from “poor” to “basic” to “expert.” HR took a beating. Only 27 percent of respondents rated their HR departments as experts, and HR tied with R&D for the highest “poor” rating—23 percent.

The low scores for HR indicate that, whether true or not, the top execs view HR types as barely capable of performing the basic tasks required of them.

Here are the results by department:


Poor—7 percent

Basic—35 percent

Expert—58 percent

Executive team:

11 percent—38 percent—51 percent


9 percent—42 percent—48 percent


23 percent—32 percent—44 percent


16 percent—43 percent—41 percent


20 percent—46 percent—34 percent


23 percent—50 percent—27 percent

“It’s not a surprise that analytics strength isn’t distributed uniformly across today’s organization,” AMA Senior Vice President Robert G. Smith said. “What is cause for concern is how deficient some functions are rated. As never before staff in every function need to be savvy when it comes to analytics. Professionals at all levels have to know what questions to ask and how to make wise choices based on data.”

The study was sponsored by AMA and conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity.

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