How Women Have Come To Dominate The HR Sector


Fiona Mullan, Head of HR International at Facebook

The HR profession is dominated by women, a trend that has strengthened over three decades and is now visible in both public and private sectors. HR is a key function for any organisation, acting as a strategic advisor at executive level. With most firms adopting diversity programmes, it is mainly women who will be charged with implementing diversity policies and fostering a fair and inclusive workforce in companies. In Australia, it’s recognised that HR has become a so-called “pink-ghetto”, and an effort is being made to equalise the gender balance in the opposite direction.

“It’s important to engage the best person for the job,” according to one HR source, “but creating male-free zones is not progressive.” While the supportive “softer” side of HR has been identified as the reason why women have come to dominate the field, the reality is that big data, analytics, knowledge of employment law, strategy and the “harder” aspects of the role are seen as a core capability in a candidate. And women have led the way. “HR professionals strongly influence organisational development, in addition to progressive people management and employee engagement,” says Katy Carolan of MERC Partners whose executive search function has placed a number of HR leaders.

Who’s at the top in HR:

Fiona Mullan, Head of HR International at Facebook

Helen Tynan, Director of People Operations at Google

Eimear Cusack, Director HR, RTÉ

Majella Darcy, Group Director at Ornua

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday June 1.

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