Senior HR designation gets mixed reviews

41.9 per cent don’t think it’s necessary
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/15/2008

Since the inception of the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, there have been rumblings about the need for a senior designation. However, only one-third of HR professionals who participated in the most recent

Pulse Survey

think the profession needs it.

“In the last 20 years there has been way too much emphasis on creating credentials that are not necessarily for the betterment of our profession. I consider this move to get a senior designation one of those completely unnecessary designations to satisfy HR executives who want to distinguish themselves from the lower paid, unwashed HR professionals,” said Angelo Pesce, principal consultant with Toronto-based HR consulting firm Pesce and Associates and a 40-year HR veteran. “You’re either an HR professional or you’re not, just like you’re an accountant or you’re not.”

The survey, sponsored by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) of Ontario and

Canadian HR Reporter

, found 41.9 per cent of the 1,809 respondents said the profession doesn’t need a senior designation while 23.8 per cent were unsure.

“I think the CHRP is getting well recognized and (a senior designation) might be a way to acknowledge that there is a more senior level of people in the profession,” said Al Doran, HRMS consultant and president of Phoenix Management International in Toronto.

The majority of respondents (53.7 per cent) believe a senior designation should be aimed at professionals with about 10 years of experience in a managerial role, while 31.6 per cent think it should be aimed at professionals with executive or strategic experience.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (71.9 per cent) think professionals should have the CHRP before they can get a senior designation and 48.4 per cent think a degree should be a prerequisite.

Most respondents (57.3 per cent) think experience and achievements should be the most important criteria for obtaining the designation. This could include a baseline number of years in the profession, plus experience working in a variety of functional areas, said Dianna Klatt, HR manager for Canada Newswire in Toronto.

“I’d like to see it based on years of experience and what you’re doing as opposed to necessarily academic experience,” she said.

But even before thinking about adding a new, senior designation, the CHRP needs to be updated, according to 63.5 per cent of respondents.

Pesce, however, is in the minority on this point and he thinks the designation is robust enough as it is.

“I really think (the CHRP) is gaining strength out there,” he said.

Instead of creating a senior designation, the profession should be promoting the CHRP as it is and encouraging more employers to make the designation a requirement for HR jobs, said Pesce.

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