13 HR Trends & Stats for 2020 That May Surprise You [Updated]

We love writing listicles as much as you like reading them (which is to say: a lot), and there’s nothing we like more than a whole list of surprising HR trends and statistics about the HR industry.

You may be an outsider with some preconceived notions about the profession and its impact on the market, or you may be an HR professional yourself and unaware of just how significant an effect great HR practices can have on your organization. Or, you may just love lists, no matter what they’re about. Regardless of your background, we think you’ll find these HR facts, statistics, predictions, and growing trends interesting. Get ready for some HR trivia. Let’s go!

1. Employee disengagement costs more than $500 billion per year to the U.S. economy.

It’s true. And according to Gallup, who researched the number above, the blame lies primarily with the 18% of employees who say they are actively disengaged. If the American workforce is 49% of the U.S. population, that works out to about $17,600 lost per disengaged individual.

2. 75% of hiring and talent managers use either applicant tracking or recruiting software to improve their hiring process.

And if you’re thinking, “OK, so what?” here’s a follow-up stat: 94% of those surveyed say using recruiting software has succeeded in improving their process.

3. Onboarding matters so much that over half of employees who had a poor onboarding experience think their company is doing poorly overall.

Want to transform your onboarding process?

Download our free Definitive Guide to Onboarding now!


4. 2019 will bring Artificial Intelligence to HR in a big way.

This one has been a hot button for a minute, but companies like Humu are already banking on the effectiveness of machine learning for HR and other aspects of business involving predictive data analysis. AI could change the games of talent acquisition, performance evaluation, and even organizational performance. ****

5. 70% of companies are in the midst of major projects to analyze and integrate employee data into their decision-making, but only 10% felt that their companies were “very ready” to deal with the challenge of protecting employee data.

This reinforces the prediction about Artificial Intelligence, not to mention the fact that data security is a big problem for many organizations.

6. Burnout costs the U.S. $190 billion in health care expenses, as well as 120,000 stress-attributed deaths.

You may have seen this one in the news a couple of years back: In Japan, 22.7% of surveyed companies said some of their employees are working more than 80 hours of overtime per month, and the culture of overworking has been blamed for hundreds of stress-related deaths, including almost 100 reported suicides in 2016 alone.

7. An average of 62% of a rater’s score on a performance review was formed based on personal idiosyncrasies rather than the subject’s actual performance.

That’s why we think objectivity is important in performance reviews.

8. 73% of women are not confident that their feedback will remain confidential whereas only 53% of men feel the same way.

Ensuring complete confidentiality is another important element for HR to reinforce with communication. That’s one reason eNPS surveys are so effective.

9. Closing the skills gap could boost your employer brand.

60% of employees think employers are to blame for the skills gap, and 90% think employers could do more to teach in-demand skills. Just think of what you could achieve with a truly kick-butt career development program: increased engagement and amazing reviews, all while making your people better at their jobs.

10. 70% of HR professionals feel performance reviews are very valuable, but only 34% of non-management employees feel the same.

This is just one stat from an infographic we made on performance management this past year; if you’ve been wondering why performance reviews are so hard to get right, you should give it a peek.

11. Relationships matter. Employees who have a “best friend” at work are seven times more likely to be engaged.

Personally, I’d like to know if bringing your dog to work counts as having a best friend.

12. To have a thriving day, individuals need six hours of social time.

With no social time, an individual has 50/50 chance of having a good day or a bad day; each hour of social interaction increases the chances of having a good day. (From the same survey in #11)

13. Generally speaking, HR professionals get paid pretty well (a median salary of $100k, according to BLS).

California and the Mid-Atlantic states pay HR managers the most. But Texas, Colorado, and Washington (State) aren’t far behind. If you’re one of the thousands of “accidental HR specialists” we speak with every year, it may be worth considering a change of career to “intentional HR pro.” Or at least renegotiating your salary.

Can you feel your mind expanding from all that knowledge? We spent days hunting these trophy stats across the parched savanna of the Internet and tracking them as they skirted the waterholes of everyday knowledge, all the while remaining wary of unsupported pseudo-facts lurking in the tall grass. They’re the real deal, so please handle them with care. Happy Bambooing!