Human resources is an integral part of any business, and it offers people from all walks of life the chance of a fruitful and rewarding career. HR involves a wide-range of activities including recruitment, payroll, negotiation and contract formulation. The profession is open to people with all sorts of qualifications and experience. There are several routes into the industry, and not all of them require formal training in the subject.
A life spent working within a large HR department can be an extremely satisfying one. Senior professionals often speak about the sense of pride they feel when helping employees to better themselves. An HR professional will usually have responsibility for training, staff development, recruitment and incentivised reward schemes; all of which are extremely rewarding activities. However, the role of an HR officer has become far more complicated in recent years. Many companies are struggling with rising commodity costs, recession and bleak economic trading conditions. The desire to cut costs has led many organisations to combine a number of different salaried positions into the HR role.
It is no longer the role of a human resources department to simply complete a number of administration tasks. This section of a business is responsible for far more strategic planning and long-term projects than in recent years. The role now often includes extra responsibilities such as health and safety, staff-training, advertising and candidate procurement. All of these functions call for great communicators who can deal with people from a wide-range of economic and social backgrounds.
The role of an HR officer is one of enormous responsibility. Most companies are now subject to stringent employment legislation. Employers have to demonstrate that their recruitment procedures are fair and not biased towards one particular demographic group. The Disability Discrimination Act is hugely important for all UK employers, and large fines can be imposed for companies which contravene the rules it imposes. UK law also stipulates a number of rules surrounding the fair dismissal of employees. It is usually the responsibility of an HR officer to ensure that these rules are adhered to.
Starting A Career In HR
The world of human resources is open to people from all academic and professional backgrounds; in fact, large companies often prefer applicants to have knowledge or experience in very specific industries. People who are entering the profession for the first time will usually have to begin their careers at the bottom of the career ladder. Newly-appointed HR officers will often spend their days carrying out the menial administration tasks which are crucial to the role. Many companies will bear the cost of sending their employees to college courses in order to attain the nationally-recognised CIPD qualification.
There are an increasing number of people who are studying related subjects at university with a view to a career in HR. Degrees in psychology, sociology and human resources provide the best possible platform for entry into the profession. There are also several post-graduate courses which offer HR qualifications, ideal for a career in the industry. Specific qualifications often allow people to enter into employment at higher pay-grades; sometimes, this can mean people may be directly appointed to a management position. A career in HR suits almost anyone because it affects every facet of working life.
“Career Prospects in HR” was written in partenership with Badenoch and Clark, recruiters helping you to forward your career. Why not check out the latest HR jobs in London here.