HR should not discriminate against applicants without experience from specific sectors

I sympathise with your ranter (Personnel Today, 20 February). I am often asked by friends: “How hard is it to get a job in HR?” And I am always embarrassed by my reply: “It depends who you work for.”

As an HR professional with almost 11 years’ experience, an MCIPD and a Masters in HR, I thought that I could tick all the education boxes as well as list a series of commercially focused achievements and attributes on my CV, and that I would be able to find work after a short period.

However, more often than not, recruitment agencies tell me that law firms want legal or partnership experience, financial and professional services firms want that experience (I have even encountered this ‘sector experience’ specification from an online firm). This has almost created a closed shop to those of us who work for plcs and who do not fit into those very narrow boxes.

Why are HR people discriminating against their colleagues from outside their own sector? We hark on about transferable skills, diversity and equal opportunities, but unless you have a little badge called ‘sector experience’ you cannot make a move outside your own sphere. Quite why I don’t know, but I would love to find out.

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