Why Statistics?

We spoke to a number of recruiters at the ILR Job Fair recently and here are some of the reasons they provided us on why you should study statistics.

  • "Credibility — the ability to speak intelligently is highly valued, use of numbers in a coherent way is essential."
  • "Details — give me a presentation with lots of detail that shows you can handle information from many angles and we will recruit you harder."
  • "Numeric literacy is very important in our field — all employees have to pass algebra tests and basic stats. even the HR people, we are constantly looking at predictive data whether it is equipment failure, maintenance schedules, or staffing."
  • "The people who move up and make critical lateral moves within our company are those who understand statistics, they can summarize the information better, they have more credibility than others because they don't talk in generalities, they do talk in specifics."
  • "Show us how our data are correlated for work force planning and you will have a huge step up — most people can do tables or graphs, to do something more complicated like correlation is very attention getting."
  • "Don't tell us you took stats, show us how you used it — how you compared comp. programs across regions for a class and found a big difference or how you did a survey for your service organization."
  • "I used my ILR stats in my internship which then led to a full-time offer at a Fortune 100 company; I did a survey of the workers at one plant — had to pull out my stat book to make sure I was doing the design right because I wanted to capture information from every shift; it changed the way they compensated the shift workers and the report eventually made its way to the Board of Directors."
  • "HR staffing is all about stats — we look at attrition by division, at diversity, at affirmative action — you have to be comfortable with these ideas to get ahead in HR, you need to explain why differences exist and what future looks like."
  • "Metrics are what we look at and they always want new ones, we also do benchmark studies to compare across different industries which are heavily reliant on statistics."
  • "You have to remember how to show data to different kinds of people — some want graphs while others need charts; knowing how to do that and what the limits are makes you valuable to the department."