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SAJMMR

Volume 2, Issue 3 (March, 2012)

ISSN 2249-877X

Pu b l i s h ed b y : S o u th As i a n Aca d e m i c Re s ea r ch J o u rn a l s

SAJMMR:
South Asian Journal of Marketing & Management Research A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF COMPETENCIES SOUGHT AFTER IN HR JOBS
S. DEEPTI*; SUBHADIP ROY** *Research Scholar, ICFAI Institute for Management Teachers Survey No. 156/57, Dontanapally Village Shankerpally Mandal, R.R.District 501203, A.P, India. **Assistant Professor, ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad Survey No. 156/57, Dontanapally Village Shankerpally Mandal, R.R.District 501203, A.P, India. ABSTRACT Recently, organizations are using various routes to communicate its positive characteristics to the various stakeholders, one of which is specific to internal and potential employees. Popularly known as Employment Branding, this is a tool for attracting new talent and one way of achieving it is through job advertisements. This implies that job advertisements could be a source of observing the competencies required for various positions in organizations. The purpose of the present study is to examine the competencies sought by the organizations for HR positions in India. The study also tries to identify the changes (if any) that have taken place in the requirements over two time periods using Content Analysis. A sample of HRM job advertisements from 2004 and 2008 were content analyzed. The results were compared to the competency list given by the American Society of Training and Development in 1987. Most of the competencies given by the McLagan and Suhadolnik (1989) were not found to be prevalent in the Indian context. Majority of ads in both time periods focused on technical competencies. The exploratory study was aimed to throw light of the current HR recruitment practices and has elements of interest both for academia and industry. KEYWORDS: Job advertisements, Content Analysis. ______________________________________________________________________________ South Asian Academic Research Journals http://www.saarj.com

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INTRODUCTION

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The concept of Branding has been has been widely addressed to in the marketing literature; brands are the products and services of an organization. Most of the organizations have concentrated on how to build a positive brand image in the minds of the consumers. From a total concentration on customers, organizations are shifting towards a concept of stakeholder focus. Stakeholder concept is the existence of a fiduciary duty to all groups and individuals with a legitimate stake in the activities of the firm not merely to the shareholders and other investors who own the enterprise in the financial sense (Ewing et. al., 2002). Employees are also considered to be the stakeholders of an organization, thus, effective communication to both the existing employees and potential employees is important. The concept of employment branding is one such tool to communicate the positives of the organization and can be used as a tool for internal marketing as well as a tool for attracting prospective candidates to join the organization. In the present study the concentration is on the employment branding for the potential employees and job advertisements can be one such tool. The purpose of these job advertisements is to attract potential employees as well as avoiding unmatched applications (Cascio, 1998). These advertisements will list down all the expected competencies that the employers are looking for so that individuals who have these competencies are attracted towards the organization. Thus, the job advertisements are a good source of knowing what employers are looking in as competencies in their potential employees. The ASTD HRD competency model is based on a study done by McLagan and Suhadolnik, 1989, the authors studied thirty-five competencies and these competencies were clustered on three parameters: 1) technical, 2) business, 3) interpersonal and 4) intellectual. Research though has been limited but has looked into application of the ASTD model in the context of New Zealands HR practices (Gray, 1999). LITERATURE REVIEW Content analysis in job advertisements has been prevelant to see what competencies organizations are looking for in their prospective candidates. Job advertisements are a very good source of looking at competencies in demand. Competencies can be defined as: 'The skills, abilities, and personal characteristics required by an "effective" or "good" manager' (Page and Wilson, 1994 p.12) Competencies are an integral part of an individual to be able to perform well in the job assigned to him/her (Spencer and Spencer 1993). Different jobs might require different type of competencies and to be able to do the particular task it is important that organizations select candidates with those competencies. Some competencies like the personal competencies are developed in an individual as a process which starts right from the beginning of an individuals life, thus, it is very difficult to change or modify these competencies. It is because of this Spencer & Spencer 1993 proposed that organizations must look in for the suitable personality traits and South Asian Academic Research Journals http://www.saarj.com

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give training for development of required knowledge and skills as these competencies can be improved or modified. The American Society of Training & Development (ASTD) in the year 1981 published a study on competencies of training & development, the study identified 31 competencies. Competencies were defined as the knowledge and skills that enabled people to do HRD work, with outputs described as those products and services for which an HRD department is accountable (Gray, 1999, p. 1049). McLagan and Suhadolnik, 1989 in another study increased the number of competencies to 35 and divided these competencies into four heads of (a) Technical; (b) Business; (c) Interpersonal; (d) Intellectual. Job advertisements are means by which companies invite a large pool of prospective employees to apply for the vacant positions in the organization. A large pool of applicant is desirable because it maximizes the chances of recruiting the right candidate for the vacant position. Job advertisements are intended to just that, organizations list down the requirements and try to attract the best suited applicant. Recruitment ads or job advertisements have message specificity and this specificity impacts individuals in varying ways. These ads have two objectives, by specifying the exact requirements ads tend to minimize the possibility of an unsuitable candidate applying and secondly by specifying the requirements it also attracts the right candidate to apply for the job (Gowan & Lautenschlager, 1993). The recruitment ads are the primary source of what competencies for a particular functional area is required and thus is a good reflector of the competencies in demand. The existing literature on HRD competencies suggests that the emphasis for HR related jobs emphasized more on the interpersonal and the personal competencies. As HR jobs require more of human interaction and thus interpersonal and personal competencies of the ASTD model are required more than the other competencies. Job advertisements have been content analysed by various authors (Feldman, Bearden, and Hardesty, 2006; Gray, 1999; Hartog, Caley and Dewe, 2007) to look in for various competencies in demand and also to compare the various trends in the requirement of these competencies overtime. The present study also looks in for the prevalent competencies in the field of HR in Indian context which has not been researched previously. The increasing importance of the role of HR in organizations reflects the need of such a study in present time. METHOD The sample was selected in such a manner that it is the representative sample of Human Resource job advertisements. These ads were selected and McLagan and Suhadolnik (1989) HRD competency model was applied to the competencies mentioned in these job advertisements. The advertisements were taken from Times Ascent, a supplementary paper of Time of India which is totally dedicated to job advertisements across India. The job advertisements were selected from the years 2004 and 2008, to check the trend of competencies required by organizations in relation with HR practitioners. The paper comes every Wednesday and ads were collected from this issue only, because this is the only day in which the supplement is printed. The number of pages of Times Ascent could be taken as a good indication as to the number of jobs available in the market, the number of pages of ascent declined in 2008 as compared to South Asian Academic Research Journals http://www.saarj.com

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2004. In the months of October, November and December 08 the supplement had only 4-5 pages whereas when we look at 2004 the supplement had around 9-10 pages per issue. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The various positions for which the ads were posted are given in Table 1, the maximum number of ads was for the post of HR manager in the year 2004 and same was the case in the year 2008. From the selected job advertisements the competencies asked by these organizations were analysed and grouped into the categories given by McLagan and Suhadolnik (1989). Once the competencies were categorized the trend prevalent in the year 2004 and the year 2008 were analysed, result of which is mentioned in Table. Most of the competencies given by the two authors were not prevalent in the Indian context. Many of the job ads in the newspaper did not even have the competencies mentioned, thus, these ads were removed from the sample and the sample included only those which have at least one line description of the position. The number of ads in the year 2008 was very less than compared to 2004, this is because of the effect of US recession in India had started showing signs and organizations were going slow on recruitments and by the end of 2008, the organizations actually started laying off their existing employees. A most important part of these ads is that, none of the ads were for opening positions in the field of HR. All the positions for which the advertisements were given required at least an experience of 2-3 years, indicating that the organizations were looking for attracting only those candidates who have had a good hands on experience on the various HR related fields (see Table 1). TABLE 1: LIST OF CATEGORIES OF JOB ADVERTISEMENTS OF HR POSITIONS Categories No. of ads (2004) Sr. Mgr. HR Recruitment consultant HRD manager HR manager Head HR Asst. Mgr. HR HR Executive Training Manager Performance Management Manager 7 1 9 34 5 5 6 3 1 No. of ads (2008) 7 25 4 7 4

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Sr. Mgr. Personnel Manager Admin. Head HRD VP HR GM HR HR Assistant AGM HR coordinator Training & HR Exec.

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2 3 1 1 8 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 104

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5 7 1 1

Compensation & Benefit HR mgr. HR Officer Manager T&D DGM HRD Manager HR & Admin. Total

4 1 3 0 70

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FIGURE 1: CATEGORIES OF HR JOB ADVERTISEMENTS FOR THE YEAR 2004 (NO. OF ADS PER POSITION)

2004
1 1 3 2 1 3 6 5 5 34 1 8 1 1 11 1 2 1 1 2 7 9

Sr. Mgr. HR Recruitment consultant HRD manager HR manager Head HR Asst. Mgr. HR HR Executive Training Manager Performance Management Manager Sr. Mgr. Personnel Manager Admin. Head HRD VP HR GM HR HR Assistant

FIGURE 2: CATEGORIES OF HR JOB ADVERTISEMENTS FOR THE YEAR 2004 (NO. OF ADS PER POSITION)

2008
1 11 7 5 4 7 1 4 4 3 25 0

HR manager Head HR Asst. Mgr. HR HR Executive Training Manager Performance Management Manager Sr. Mgr. Personnel Manager Admin. Head HRD VP HR GM HR HR Assistant AGM HR coordinator Training & HR Exec.

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TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES Technical competencies are those competencies exclusive to the HR professional, i.e. the competency of performing the various tasks related to the accomplishment of HR tasks. Technical competencies included subject matter expertise, need analysis, presentation skills and etc. In most of the ads the total emphasis was on the subject matter expertise i.e. the candidate who have knowledge about the various functions of HR are only invited. Though many of the competencies did not show up in the analysis the most prevalent was the subject matter knowledge. TABLE 2: LIST OF TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT AFTER IN ADS Competencies No. of ads containing the competency (2004) Subject-matter expertise Needs analysis Presentation skills Train. design (objective) Evaluation T&D theory Computer literacy Adult learning theory OD theory Documentation Cost-benefit analysis Career develop. theory Total 4 68 (104) 31 (70) 5 1 3 5 49 6 1 No. of ads containing the competency (2008) 21 2 2 -

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FIGURE 3: TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT IN THE ADS FOR THE YEAR 2004 & 2008

2004
T&D theory Computer literacy Adult learning theory OD theory

2008
T&D theory

Computer literacy Adult learning theory

BUSINESS COMPETENCIES As per McLagan and Suhadolnik (1989) business competencies are those having strong management base, thus, in the ads analyzed here only industry experience stood out and others either had a low percentage or did not even exist in the ads. This is similar to other studies to some extent as Gray, 1999 found only Industry experience and project management to be standing out. Here, only industry experience showed importance and no other competencies were required by the organization (see Table 3). TABLE 3: LIST OF BUSINESS COMPETENCIES SOUGHT AFTER IN ADS Competencies No. of ads containing the competency (2004) Industry Experience Customer Focus Organization Understanding Project Management Total 25 4 29 (104) 28 28 (104) No. of ads containing the competency (2008)

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FIGURE 4: BUSINESS COMPETENCIES SOUGHT IN THE ADS FOR THE YEAR 2004 & 2008

2004
Industry Experience Customer Focus Organization Understanding Project Management

2008

Industry Experience

INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCIES It is notable to see that in a field like human resource management, were the interpersonal skills must be strong as it includes constant interaction with people; very few organizations emphasized the need for interpersonal skills in the job advertisements. Very few mentioned the requirement of interpersonal skills and communication skills. Even conceptual clarity was not emphasized much by these organizations. Though ads also included the positions of vice president and general manager, which is a leadership position and it is very important to have an appropriate leader, the ads did not mention much of the leadership qualities that these positions must have. This defies the previous studies and in India these skills are not required in great number as compared to industry experience. TABLE 4: LIST OF INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT AFTER IN ADS Competencies No. of ads containing the competency (2004) Interpersonal skills Communication skills Conceptual clarity Strong acumen Team Player Negotiation skills 4 9 3 1 2 1 3 3 6 2 No. of ads containing the competency (2008)

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Leadership Total

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1 21(104) 1 15(70)

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FIGURE 5: INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT IN THE ADS FOR THE YEAR 2004 & 2008

2004
Interpersonal skills Communicati on skills Conceptual clarity Strong acumen Team Player Negotiation skills Leadership

2008
Interpersona l skills Communicati on skills Conceptual clarity Strong acumen Team Player Negotiation skills Leadership

PERSONAL COMPETENCIES Personal competencies was not a part of the study done by McLagan and Suhadolnik (1989), but the study done by Gray 1999, they studied the HR competencies in the context of New Zealand HR practitioners, they came up with the certain list of personal competencies that emerged while the study. Those competencies have been used here and the ads where analyzed on the basis of these competencies. Again as most of the competencies, in case of personal competencies also the results showed that the personal competencies were also not much emphasized by the organization here. The only competency that was slightly better was professionalism, but in the year 2008 again none of the companies emphasized on the personal competency of professionalism. Only 20 out of 104 ads

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actually mentioned some of the competencies but when we look at ads in 2008 only 5 of the 70 ads, mentioned the competencies. TABLE 5: LIST OF PERSONAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT AFTER IN ADS Competencies No. of ads containing the competency (2004) Motivation/drive Enthusiasm Autonomous Flexible Professional Judgment Business acumen Credibility/integrity Humorous/fun Personal Presentation Confident/positive Enjoy Pressure Mature Pragmatic Total 7 2 10 1 20 (104) 2 1 2 5 (70) No. of ads containing the competency (2008)

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FIGURE 6: PERSONAL COMPETENCIES SOUGHT IN THE ADS FOR THE YEAR 2004 & 2008

2004

Motivation/drive Enthusiasm Autonomous Flexible Professional Judgement Business acumen Credibility/integrity Humorous/fun Personal Presentation Confident/positive Enjoy Pressure Mature Pragmatic

2008
Motivation/drive Enthusiasm Autonomous Flexible Professional Judgement Business acumen Credibility/integrity Humorous/fun Personal Presentation Confident/positive Enjoy Pressure Mature Pragmatic

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Volume 2, Issue 3 (March, 2012)

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The above results indicated that, most of the organizations who were posting ads for the various HR positions had an emphasis more on the industry experience part and it is assumed here that since an individual who has varied experience of 3-4 years in the field will be well equipped with all the competencies that are in picture. Since the major focus was on industry experience and organizations have mentioned the kind of experience they are looking for, thus, other things are assumed to be existing in the individual. Also the technical competency was a majority here as almost 50% of the ads in 2004 and around 30% ads were emphasizing on the subject matter expertise. Though the emphasis has lowered as compared to 2004. When we look at the trend prevailing in both the years, it is evident that in the year 2004, the elaborate description of positions was prevalent and in 2008, ads were less elaborate and gave only key role requirements like educational background and number of years of experience. In most of the competencies the ads given in the year 2008 ranked low, this may be because of the use of other sources of recruitment other than through job advertisements. Also the emphasis in the year 2008 was more on cost cutting, so may be due to space restrictions and costs related to that the ads might have been restricted only to the essential information than giving a detailed description. There has been no change in the various profiles that were asked for in both the years. The required technical competencies and the subject matter knowledge remain almost similar. CONCLUSION The analysis here revealed significant results to get an insight about the recruitment policies that the Indian organizations employ. When compared to the ASTD model and the addition of personal competency in this model by Gray 1999, the ads that the organizations put in newspapers, do not employ much of jargons and organizations majorly look in for individuals who have the required experience and the required subject matter knowledge. HR in India has still not gained much of importance in the organizations and thus skills which are integral part of the job are not asked for. Most of HR professionals work goes in recruitment and other areas like career development of employees, leadership development and etc are ignored facets. Gray 1999, proposition that communication skills will add to the success of a practitioner than the technical knowledge get defied here as in India organizations emphasize more on the technical expertise than the communication skills and etc. An implication for managers would be look into the fact that how these jobs advertisements help organizations attract potential candidates. Redman and Mathews (1992) studied that the advertisements which included personal competencies were much more capable of attracting the potential candidates than advertisements which mentioned only the technical competencies. Practitioners can look into better ways so that the appropriate candidate applies for the position. REFERENCES Cascio, W.F. (1998) Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management, 5th edn. Englefield Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Ewing, M.T., Pitt, L.F., de Bussy, N.M. and Berthon, P. (2002), Employment branding in the knowledge economy, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 21, pp. 3-22 South Asian Academic Research Journals http://www.saarj.com

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Feldman, D. C., Bearden W.O. and Hardesty D. M. (2006). Varying the content of job advertisements, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 35(1), 123-141. Gowan, M and Lautenschlager, G (1993), "Corporate Image, Recruitment Image, and Initial Job Choice Decisions," Academy of Management Journal, 56 (April) 414-427. Gray, L. (1999). New Zealand HRD practitioner competencies: application of the ASTD competency model, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 10(6,) 10461059 Hartog, Deanne. N. D, Caley, A and Dewe. P. (2007), Recruiting leaders: an analysis of leadership advertisements, Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 17 (1), 58-75. McLagan, P.A. and Suhadolnik, D. (1989) Models for Human Resource Development Practice: The Research Report. Alexandria: American Society for Training and Development Page, C. and Wilson, M. (1994) Management Competencies in New Zealand: On the Inside Looking In? Wellington: Ministry of Commerce Redman, T. and Mathews, B.P. (1995) 'Trends in Recruitment: A Ten Year Retrospective Review', International Journal of Career Management, 7(2): 10-16 Spencer, L.M. and Spencer, S.G. (1993) Competence at Work: Models for Superior Performance. New York: Wiley

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