I work in HR in the City and am looking to move into a different industry.
In your view, do different sectors have reputations for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ HR,
and if so, which is which?
Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento
This is an interesting question as it raises the issue as to what is ‘good’
and ‘bad’ HR. There is no simple answer. Sophisticated leading edge HR
practices may be the right solutions for blue chips multinationals, but are not
appropriate for all organisations.
Having said that, good people management practices are good for business
generally. I do not believe that any sectoral generalisations can be drawn and
there are examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ HR in all sectors. Organisations with an
excellent reputation for the quality of their products and services or have
successfully undergone major transformations also tend to have a good
reputation for their HR.
You may also want to consider a range of other issues when deciding on your
next career move. What are your values, needs, skills and competencies and
which sectors are most likely to match these? What type of organisational
culture suits your preferred working style? Given your background and income
requirements, what are the realistic options available to you in the employment
Jo Redgwell, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
I am a little surprised by your question; in my experience HR professionals
at any level or sector strive to provide the most accurate and precise service
to their clients. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ HR, but each
industry does tailor HR to their specific sector needs because they support
different groupings of individuals.
You should focus on what environment is going to provide you with the most
job satisfaction. When you are in an interview, remember it is an opportunity for
you to probe whether you want the job. So ask questions about the company and
HR team, think of a situation and ask the interviewer how the company would
resolve this issue. You will quickly know then if the company holds the same
philosophy as you.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
As someone working in HR, I am surprised you expect a response to your
question that would be based on stereotyping and sweeping generalisations.
While you can pick out certain sectors that may be described as ‘good’ or
‘bad’, there will inevitably be organisations that are seen to be very good
employers in the bad sector and bad employers in the good sector.
How do you start to define good and bad? For example, the retail sector is
known to have a long hours culture and if you are supporting a 24-hour 7-day
week operation, then those hours may be unsociable.
The public sector has a reputation for lower pay compared with the private,
but there are other inherent benefits. This may not have answered your
question, but I don’t think it is possible to do so.