I am currently in a generalist HR role, and enjoy all the disciplines
involved, but am thinking the future lies in specialism. Which areas would you
tip as the big careers of the future in terms of earnings and employability?
Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates
Specialism is a very good way to progress your career and with many areas of
HR becoming more integral to the running of an organisation, you can quickly
progress within a department.
With employment legislation changing constantly companies must be informed
if they are to avoid tribunals; you could therefore consider specialising in
employee relations or diversity.
Once the market picks up, companies will have to view retention as a major
issue, and are likely to invest in developing their staff, therefore
specialising in areas such as performance management and executive coaching.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
Before looking at employability and earnings considerations, look at your
skills and motivation. For example, compensation and benefits is an area where
there is a skills shortage with the effect that salaries are higher in this
particular specialism. But if you do not have an eye for detail and are not
particularly numerate, this may not be for you.
One area both interesting and suffering from a skills shortage is looking at
the people issues within the context of business planning. Whether an organisation
is growing or downsizing there will always be a need to manage the planning
process effectively. There is also a direct link to business performance.
Another area to look at is that of training and development. While there is
a growth in e-learning, the research suggests people development will still be
effectively delivered by good trainers.
Jo Redgwell, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
In my experience the economic market dictates most recruitment and there is
certainly no predictability in this. For example, when we experienced the IT
and telecoms boom and smaller companies were being acquired or merged, key HR
roles were in recruitment. However, as soon as this bubble burst recruitment
roles were the first to be cut.
Economists have not predicted a new bubble to take its place, so I would not
recommend specialising in recruitment. After so much market change over the
last 12 months many organisations are looking inwards and we are recruiting a
number of management development, learning and change management roles. But by
far the largest proportion of roles we recruit for is generalist, so in my
opinion I would stay in a generalist role and set your sights on the top job!