How to get into it… You will usually progress to this role through a more junior position such as HR officer or adviser, having gained experience and demonstrable knowledge of certain key areas. These could include staff management, disciplinary or grievance procedures or tribunal hearings.
What you need to succeed… Specific requirements will vary between organisations and type of organisation, but generally speaking you will need to be a CIPD-qualified graduate with a minimum of five years’ HR experience. It will be advantageous if you have practical experience operating in a similar organisation, both in terms of size and of sector. You will usually have experience across a range of specialist HR areas, such as employment law, disciplinary and grievance procedures and tribunal procedures. You will also be able to manage a budget, and you will almost certainly have day-to-day responsibility for the supervision of a number of HR staff.
What is involved… The requirements will vary according to the organisation and according to the structure of the HR department itself. You will be expected to cover all, or some, of the following:
- Provide expert professional advice and guidance in all HR practices
- Contribute to the development of HR strategy, policy and practice
- Support the head of HR in ensuring HR policies are consistent with current legal requirements and good employment practices
- Responsibility for the day-to-day management of the HR department and an effective recruitment service to the organisation.
Prospects… Public sector organisations generally value the HR function highly and positions for experienced HR managers always arise. It also offers a very different experience in terms of culture and working environment, while also offering more generous ‘softer benefits’.