When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Why Do So Many Women Work In Human Resources?

Why Do So Many Women Work In Human Resources?
Batya Wiseman

TEL AVIV – New research from Ben-Gurion University found that 91% of those working in human resources in Israel are women. It is data that largely conforms to recruiting and personnel departments around the developed world.

According to the figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK, 72% of human resources staff in that country are women. Furthermore, when Forbes magazine published the top 10 best-paying jobs for women, it found that 71% of the workers in human resources in the United States are, in fact, women.

What is the explanation for this phenomenon? There is a mix of theory and hard facts, but we can divide it into three basic categories:

1. History
The human resources profession emerged from the domains of therapy and counseling. Its first version appeared in the 19th century, staffed by “social workers” who were mostly women. During the two World Wars, when men were off fighting, a large number of women went to work in the industries. From then on, the jobs evolved into hiring and professionalising. At the time the jobs in the domain did not require a large set of skills, and sometimes not even a completed high-school curriculum. Since higher education was mainly reserved for men, the field developed with a dominating feminine presence. The same can be said of the educational sector, and remains this way until the present.

2. Workplace discrimination
Even though most human resources employees are women, it is telling that the top spots in the field are still largely kept for men, who also earn proportionally higher salaries. It reflects a broader deficit for female career advancement that remains in many Western countries. In Britain, for example, men earn 20% more than their female counterparts. According to the latest figures collected by the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, a woman earned an average of 66% of a man’s salary. These figures may help explain how so many women gravitate toward human resources, where salaries are relatively lower than in other sectors.

And despite smaller salaries, the pressure in the field is just as big. “Unlike before, the HR sector in general, and particularly amongst recruiters, now requires a wide variety of professional skills and a high level of education,” says Liliya Pauker the recruiting director at AllJobs.com, an Israeli recruitment website. “Those who work in this field have to manage with very intense jobs, irregular and hard working hours and must meet rigorous business objectives set by their organizations."

3. A better fit?
This risks slipping quickly into stereotyping, but many researches tried to identify the feminine qualities and characteristics that could be helpful as a recruiter. For example: Better listening capacities, empathy, good organization skills, a capacity to negotiate without conflicts and most of all the desire to help the person in front of them.

These characteristics, according to some studies, are also part of the evolution of female genetics. Greg Savage, the former CEO of Aquent International (an international HR firm), is sure that most recruiters are women because they do the job better. “Women listen better, they ‘get’ the person sitting in front of them, they understand their real needs and motivations, thus they are able to find the best job for that person,” he argues.

But others scoff at what they see as worn-out assumptions that women are more “suitable” for that profession than men. “Even though today nobody prevents a woman from becoming a software engineer or a man from becoming a director of the HR department, many women still don’t think they are able to become engineers. Therefore, when a woman is good in math, instead of becoming an engineer she goes to architecture,” explains Idan Liad, a recruitment director. “The same happens with men: instead of running an HR department, they turn towards business administration, economics or law, which in terms of capabilities and requirements are very similar to the field of human resources.”

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Netflix And Chills: “Dear Child” Has A German Formula That May Explain Its Success

The Germany-made thriller has made it to the “top 10” list of the streaming platform in more than 90 countries by breaking away from conventional tropes and mixing in German narrative techniques.

Screengrab from Netflix's Dear Child, showing two children, a boy and a girl, hugging a blonde woman.

An investigator reopens a 13-year-old missing persons case when a woman and a child escape from their abductor's captivity.

Dear Child/Netflix
Marie-Luise Goldmann


BERLIN — If you were looking for proof that Germany is actually capable of producing high-quality series and movies, just take a look at Netflix. Last year, the streaming giant distributed the epic anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front, which won four Academy Awards, while series like Dark and Kleo have received considerable attention abroad.

And now the latest example of the success of German content is Netflix’s new crime series Dear Child, (Liebes Kind), which started streaming on Sep. 7. Within 10 days, the six-part series had garnered some 25 million views.

The series has now reached first place among non-English-language series on Netflix. In more than 90 countries, the psychological thriller has made it to the Netflix top 10 list — even beating the hit manga series One Piece last week.

How did it manage such a feat? What did Dear Child do that other productions didn't?

Keep reading...Show less

The latest