HR should be regulated across Canada: Survey

Regulation would raise profession's profile

A majority of HR professionals believe the profession should be regulated across Canada, according to the results of the most recent Pulse Survey.

The survey of 1,330 Canadian HR Reporter readers and members of the Human Resources Professionals Association found 66.4 per cent of them think it should be a goal of the profession to be regulated in all Canadian jurisdictions and 65 per cent think such regulation is quite or very important.

Just 16.9 per cent think it is of little importance.

Regulation in all jurisdictions would give HR more recognition as a legitimate practice, similar to accounting, said Monica Teakles, an HR generalist in Saint John, N.B.

“It would help provide better standards and we would gain more respect within the business world,” she said.

Nearly three-quarters (71.7 per cent) of respondents agree regulating HR would increase the profession’s stature.

Compared to other regulated professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, HR professionals are viewed as contributing less to the overall business, said Teakles

“Anyone who works closely with an HR professional sees the difference between the transactional and the strategic partner. But in a traditional sense… we’re seen as ‘Anyone can be in HR, you don’t have to have specific HR training.’ Whereas you know if you want to be a lawyer or accountant you have to take the schooling for it,” she said.

Two-thirds (66.3 per cent) think professionals from other regulated professions would respect HR professionals more if HR was regulated in all jurisdictions, and 54.7 per cent think across-the-board regulation would make HR a more attractive career choice.

“Anything that gives us more credibility as a profession, you’re going to be able to attract more young people who see it as a long-term career choice,” said Teakles.

Regulating the profession would also raise the value of HR professionals in an organization and increase demand for them, said Rajashree Basu, an HR and payroll professional in Mississauga, Ont.

“The same standard would be maintained everywhere and employers would give more value to the designation,” she said.

But regulating HR, and requiring everyone to have the Certified Human Resources Professional designation, won’t necessarily lead to better HR professionals, said David Cohen, a senior HR consultant in Toronto.

“A lot of people came into HR from other disciplines,” he said. “There are some current HR leaders, who have no formal education, and they’re some of the best HR people I’ve ever met.”

Respect for HR has more to do with individual HR practitioners than whether or not the profession is regulated, said Cohen.

“It really depends on the individual HR leader. It has nothing to do with a professional certification or lack thereof,” he said. “If you’ve been a good HR practitioner and you’ve proven yourself through the school of hard knocks, you have more credibility than somebody with a PhD who is not respected.”

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