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Is SHRM Selling Data Members Provided - Back to Members? At Premium Prices?

Remember - I'm a SHRM member and don't see that changing anytime soon.

But, I haven't been to the site for awhile.  You know what I'd like to go there for?  I'd like to go there for a great understanding of where I stand with Employee Turnover related to my industry peers and other sectors as well.  I'd like to do the same with other metrics.

I know SHRM can do this.  Wait - it's available!  

Wait - apparently I need to fork up $395 to get the data - data that was likely collected directly from members.  

I got an email pitching me on the quality of Turnover Data and related metrics (140 of them) yesterday.  I went to the website and here's what they're pitching:

"Our customized benchmarking reports tackle more than 140 metrics in three critical areas (click for samples): human capitalhealth care, and retirement and welfare. And if you need granularity, we’ve got it. Customize your data by workforce size, industry, geography, profit level, or any number of key criteria.

When it comes to crucial decisions involving cost-per-hire, turnover rates, employer health-care contributions, 401K participation and more — you can’t afford to make uninformed guesses. Fortunately, you can afford the reliable and timely data provided by SHRM Benchmarking.

Unlike other services that charge literally thousands for their data, our reports start at a budget-friendly member price of only $395. As an added value, you can earn up to 20 PHR/SPHR recertification credits by incorporating SHRM data into your job duties."

I'm all for capitalism - thus the name of my blog site.  However, SHRM doesn't exist to be solely capitalist - they exist to serve the membership.

So, let me get this straight:  SHRM Members obviously provide most of the data.  SHRM trades on its name and position as the HR organization of choice to get free participation from others.  

Then they charge members for the database (2-3 times the cost of a membership), and also tweak you by providing free recert credits to anyone who buys.

I love that type of play for any "for-profit" organization.  I like it less for a non-profit organization where I haven't signed in to the website in.... I can't tell you when.

Thanks for the offer SHRM.  I think I'll pass.  But it's a good reminder of what I get for my money.




SHRM doesn't function as a non-profit. They are all about bringing in money. They have a new policy. They will not allow those who compete with them to utilize any of their advertising avenues. SHRM states that their mission is "to serve the needs of the HR professionals by providing the most essential and comprehensive resources available." Unfortunately, SHRM members will no longer be informed about competing products, whether they are the most comprehensive or not.


Kris, bang on post. I have no problem charging something for the data but the price seems really high for members.

Most HR research companies that have contacted me for survey data have provided a free copy of the resultant report as a thank you for participation.

Helen Luketic

Kris - I think you're off the mark here. Here's why:

1. SHRM is not for profit, but they still have to pay for overhead. They may get data from organizations but someone still has to calculate the benchmarks, validate the data, and then package it. Unless some smart person volunteers for the job, you're going have to come up with $$$ for the salary somehow.

2. $395 for a benchmarking report is the cheapest thing I have ever seen and I have paid for benchmarking reports for years. It is so cheap, that IS your member value.

3. Not quite sure what the set up is but you make the assumption that SHRM members are all giving up these metrics for free and then SHRMS sells it back to the members.
Not everyone who is a SHRM member submits these types of metrics. I know that because I was a member and submitted nada.
I suspect the process is more along the lines of: if you submit data for benchmarking, you get the report back for free. Otherwise, if you don't submit data, you pay for the report. That is the typical business model for benchmarking services.

I really feel that everyone is forgetting that while SHRM is a not for profit, they still need to pay their employees, technology, office space etc. As for members getting a high value item for free, SHRM isn't a charity.
It does look like they are covering their expenses though and a not for profit should do that.

John Jorgensen

Kris, I understand what you are saying but not sure I agree with you. I believe that SHRM delivers great value for the $180 we pay per year. If SHRM would give all their products to members in exchange for a larger dues amount, I would hate to see what that number might be.

They are not alone in what they do, just check out what the AMA charges for dues and then what they charge for their additional products.

Jared Hooste

Kris, I would gladly pay $395 to be able to bring this type of data to the table and show your peers why you are making the decisions about hiring packages, new hires in your own department, and potential HR problems looming in your particular industry. If we want to sit at the table we have to talk their talk as well.

So pay the man and let the data assist you in better decision making. I think the ROI is sufficiently high. Just ask the IT how much he pays for Bench-marking data.

Janice Com

members have to pay for everything, I got nothing free. For my internship, nobody was able to recruit me, I got the job myself using my connections.

And I don't talk about the networking tips, got it from other volunteers.

SHRM is after me to renew the membership.


The only true value I have gained in the past from shrm membership is asking peers questions and receiving feedback on various topics. Even the conferences provided information I'd already gained from other sources for free. I only maintain the membership because employers believe SHRM to be the premier endorsement for HR professionals and my employer will pay for the membership. If it were not for these three reasons I would no longer be a member after 14 years of membership.

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