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HR budgets returning to pre-recession levels

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The typical HR department saw its budget rise by 4.2% this year. That’s a slight rise from the past three years, when budget increases ran from 3.6% to 3.9%, but well up from the 2009-2011 recession levels, according to the newly released HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis report from Bloomberg BNA.  

This year’s 4.2% increase is still below the average hikes in department budgets during 1998 to 2007, when median changes ran at 5% or higher.

The benefits of economies of scale are substantial for HR departments. On a per capita basis, companies with fewer than 250 employees spend four times as much on the HR function ($3,372 per employee) as organizations with at least 2,500 workers ($816 per employee), says the report.

The survey also asked about HR priorities. Recruitment/retention remain at or near the top of most HR professionals’ agendas, with nearly nine out of 10 respondents saying that hiring and retaining employees is “extremely” or “very” important. Controlling health care costs was cited by about three-quarters of respondents, down from 86% four years ago.


Median budgeted change in HR funding

2012     3.6%

2013     3.8%

2014     3.9%

2015     4.2%

Source: HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis  2015-2016 report, Bloomberg BNA

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