Doing Data Analysis Expands Strategic Role of Public Sector HR Practitioners

Maria Villareal
1617 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314
Ph: (703) 549-7100
Fax: (703) 684-0948


ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 7, 2018 – Nearly two-thirds of public sector human resources professionals now provide data analytics services to their agencies and departments. Sixty-eight percent feel this expansion of their role beyond facilitating hiring, personnel management and training has allowed them to influence the strategic direction of their organization.

“As the public sector HR field expands into a more transformational role within the organization,” said IPMA-HR Executive Director Neil Reichenberg, “there’s a need for more practitioners to understand and apply HR analytics in their everyday HR functions.”

These statistics come from the just-released 2018 IPMA-HR Benchmarking Report—Beyond HR Metrics: HR Analytics. Each year, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources polls its members to capture the evolution of HR practice in government settings. The survey and report define “HR analytics” as “the application of analytic processes to data for the purpose of improving HR strategy and performance.”

The latest Benchmarking Survey was conducted via email in June and July 2018. Questions reflected the 2010 survey, which focused on which HR metrics IPMA-HR members collected and how they gathered that data.

As in 2010, roughly 70 percent of public sector HR practitioners currently collect data on headcount, length of service, staff turnover, cost of employee benefits and other individual and organizational performance metrics. However, 12 percent more departments used human resources information systems in 2018 than did so eight years earlier.

Eighty percent of respondents to the 2018 survey reported sharing data analytics with senior leaders for their organizations. The primary reasons for doing data analysis and communicating the results are to predict trends and influence decision-making processes.

Specifically, public sector organizations are using HR data analytics to improve recruiting and hiring (57 percent), salary setting and benefits delivery (43 percent) and retention and engagement initiatives (38 percent).

“Focusing on HR analytics will help public sector HR practitioners be more strategic and innovative and let us communicate how we bring value to the organization,” said Kristine Crothers, who serves as a learning and development specialist for the City of Gainesville, Fla., and presented findings from the Benchmarking Report at IPMA-HR’s 2018 International Training Conference in Phoenix.

Surprisingly, few agencies and departments provide training on data analysis to HR staff. Just 20 percent of respondents to the 2018 survey indicated they had received explicit instruction in such matters as how to use data analytics software. A large number of public sector HR practitioners also reported that their organization lacked a clear plan for collecting and analyzing HR metrics.

You can read the full Benchmarking Report online at

An Executive Summary is also available at

IPMA-HR emailed the Benchmarking Survey to 6,701 public sector human resources members of the Association on June 27, 2018, and received a total of 386 complete and partial responses from employees of state agencies, federal agencies, special districts, educational organizations and, accounting for the greatest number of respondents, local, county, and town governments. The results of the survey have a ±5 percent confidence interval at a 95 percent confidence level.


The International Public Management Association for Human Resources is the leading public sector human resource organization in the world. We represent the interests of human resource professionals at all levels and strive to promote excellence in HR management. Since 1906, IPMA-HR has been a resource for comprehensive and timely HR industry news, jobs, policies, resources, education and professional development opportunities.

Subscribe to the HR Bulletin