The recruitment and development of talent is a growing priority for many organizations, and is increasingly regarded as an important competitive advantage. One example of this emphasis on talent development is the creation of so-called `C` level executive roles--Chief Talent or Personnel Officer--that represent the interests of the Human Resources department. This is a significant change from past years, during which Human Resources was generally considered a lower priority, even a necessary evil, and a destination for executives that did not thrive in other departments.
This change has had an important beneficiary--women. An extraordinarily high proportion of Human Resources departments are run by women, reflecting the composition of the departments themselves. For better or worse, Human Resources positions have long been perceived as natural roles for women, as women are generally regarded as more nurturing and service-oriented than their male counterparts. As these traits are considered core to the functioning of effective Human Resources personnel, the advancement of women within HR departments has been routine and that, in turn, has attracted more women. Additionally, the lifestyle of workers in the Human Resources department is often not as demanding in terms of hours and weekends worked as it is for workers in other departments; many women with children find this appealing.
The preponderance of female heads of Human Resources departments and the higher prioritization of talent development have combined to give many female executives increased authority and influence. Many women, after performing well in a Human Resources capacity, have been given additional responsibilities in other departments. Also, more female executives have been asked to represent their organizations at industry conferences, further increasing their visibility.