HR has become popular as a career choice in recent years with both graduates and those looking for a change career, but if you’re thinking about choosing the discipline, it’s a good idea to investigate what’s involved first. With the current battle for talent, there’s plenty of human resources jobs out there, but you should do your research to make sure you have the personality, skills, and characteristics needed to succeed in a career that’s changed hugely over the last decade.
Human resources, or HR, for short, is an umbrella term for all the various functions that go into the management and development of employees in an organisation. As a result, it’s also often called personnel or talent management.
HR consists of a number of areas, including recruiting, remuneration and benefits, training and development and employee relations. Due to so much diversity, human resources jobs come in a wide variety of titles and job descriptions, including HR manager, recruiter, training and development officer, benefits specialist, and so on…
While recruitment and retention of staff are the most obvious functions of human resource management, HR professionals are also employed to create, develop and implement programs and policies that generate the most benefit for the organisation from human capital. This can involve a number of tasks from cultivating strong employee-employer relationships, boosting staff morale and, of course, making sure company policies comply with employment law.
Needless to say, recent developments in technology have revolutionised many aspects of HR, so, today, the job is about much more than people skills. Potential candidates need to be tech-savvy with excellent problem-solving, analytical and communication skills.
Kick-starting your career in human resources
Perhaps one of the best ways of discovering what a career in human resources is all about is through a junior role as an HR assistant. Here, you’ll carry out a very general range of administrative and clerical duties that will give you an overview of the role within the organisation, as well as insights into employment law and other requirements, such as the need for confidentiality, common application and systems used.
In the UK, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) is the organisation’s responsibility for human resource management professionals and offers a range of qualifications that can help you get started and progress in your career.
There are apprenticeships available at two levels: HR support (level 3) and HR consultant/partner (level 5). Both of these are opportunities to study while earning a wage. The support apprenticeship is equivalent to an A-level and lasts 18 to 24 months – ideal for someone entering the profession.
The more senior apprenticeship is for HR managers and is designed to boost decision-making and influencing skills. This course runs for two to three years, or 18 months if you’ve completed the foundation course. Of course, you can also take the university route in HR.
A fulfilling career that can take you anywhere
One of the most appealing aspects for those looking to work in HR is that once you have the qualifications and experience, you can pretty much choose which sector you want to work in. After all, every company, whatever the industry, has the need for an HR function. Since you’ll be dealing with people, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of variety in your day-to-day work, as you could be tackling a different challenge every day. And, there’s excellent earning potential as your career progresses.
To find your first job in human resources, or the next step in your career in human resources management, as always, start with Zoek.
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