Why HR Professionals Should Consider a Career in PEO

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What is a PEO?  I’ve heard this question many times, so let’s start there.  A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) provides HR solutions such as payroll and benefits administration, risk management, and regulatory compliance support for its client companies.  The PEO essentially allows its clients to focus on achieving their goals by assisting with their strategic and administrative HR needs.

I love my job

In a PEO relationship, the client and the PEO act as “co-employers” with defined roles. Usually, the PEO is responsible for administrative tasks such as running payroll, while the client company still has control over the day-to-day operations such as policy enforcement and making employment decisions (hiring/firing staff, corrective action, etc.).  The idea of co-employment may seem foreign, but there are many facets of the PEO industry that are attractive to clients and job seekers alike.

I can confirm that embarking on a career in the PEO world is unlike (and dare I say superior to) most other HR opportunities available.  Here’s why you should take the PEO plunge…

Role Variety

A PEO can offer a plethora of opportunities in the field of Human Resources, as nearly all the HR functions are accounted for.

Do you enjoy processing payroll? Check!  There are opportunities with a PEO.

Are you a benefits guru? Got that!

Have a passion for safety in the workplace? There’s a place for you too!

Specialized roles are essential to the PEO function and play a significant role in the PEO-client relationship. For generalists out there, the PEO HR consultant/advisor role would be the way to go. These roles tend to act as the client company’s HR subject matter expert on a variety of HR issues such as employee relations, compliance, and daily HR challenges that occur in the workforce.

Industry Growth

According to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), “Between 2008 and 2017, the number of WSEs employed in the PEO industry grew at a compounded annual rate of 8.3 percent. This is roughly 14 times higher than the compounded annual growth rate of employment in the economy overall during the same period.” The reality is that many companies are opting to use a PEO for some, if not a majority, of their HR functions. The PEO industry growth rate shows promise of job security for its employees.


HR professionals in the PEO industry often joke that one year of PEO experience equates to seven years in an internal HR role, and I believe they are right!  The amount of exposure PEO HR professionals receive is unmatched to roles that are “internal,” or serving only one organization.  Internal HR roles are limited to the issues or needs of their specific organization, whereas the PEO HR professional is exposed to issues and needs of many organizations.

Because PEO HR professionals typically will work with a wide variety of clients across different states, industries, organization types, and company sizes, their professional development and knowledge tends to increase on an accelerated curve, anecdotally speaking.  It’s kind of like working as an HR professional for dozens of companies at once. Is it challenging? Heck yes! But SO rewarding!

Be careful, though…once you get a taste of the PEO world, you might never go back!  Ready to take the PEO plunge? Check out some career opportunities here, or contact the author directly at krista.angell@staffone.com.

Image:  Gui Yong Kang