Potential of HR professionals is being untapped by employers reluctant to invest in their staff, causing many to contemplate leaving

HR professionals should be given more opportunities to develop their careers, or companies risk losing top talent, a report has found.

Workers are chomping at the bit to show their bosses what they can really do, but employers are failing to give them a chance to blossom, HR Magazine said.

A poll of around 1,800 HR professionals, both in the UK and overseas, found that 35% wanted more responsibility and believed they could contribute more, while 31% were keen to accelerate or fast-track their career development.

The survey was conducted by CareerCentre, a partnership between consultancy firm 10Eighty and solutions company Career Engagement Group.

It also found that 71% of HR professionals in the UK regard their career as the priority in their work-life balance, and 75% would use their own time to further their careers and take on additional learning.

The consequences for employers who ignore staff needs could be serious, with 17% of respondents saying they hope to leave their organisation in the coming year, with 50% and 60% planning to leave within the next three and five years respectively.

Michael Moran, chief executive and founder of 10Eighty, said: "There are probably not too many people in HR who see it as just a nine-to-five job. The reason is that a lot of people go into HR because they want to make a difference and want to make the working world a better place."

He said the majority of people who work in HR believe they can add value to the business, but many employers are afraid of offering the kind of career development staff want because they fear that investing in more training and effective career management could result in top talent leaving the organisation.

"A lot of employers think that if they invest in their staff they will leave, but actually it is completely the opposite," he said. "If you sit down with an employee and ask what it is they want out of the job, you will find a whole series of untapped potential.

"One of my favourite quotes is: 'There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise'."

He said the vast majority of HR workers want to contribute more to the business but many feel under-used and under-valued.

Copyright Press Association 2013