Keen to move into employment law

After three years generalist HR experience, I realise my interest lies more
in the ‘dry’ areas of HR – such as employment law issues and policies. In
considering my next move I am keen to find a job with this kind of bias. Would
I have to move into employment law altogether? Having just completed my CIPD
studies I am not overly keen on another two years’ study. Any suggestions for
roles that might suit me?

Anna Cook, project co-ordinator, Chiumento

If you are keen to move to a role with a bias in employment law and HR
policy target large organisations which are more likely to have a requirement
for a specialist.

Highlight your experience as achievements so it is clear that you are
comfortable and expert at dealing with these issues.

Although you are not keen to do any more extensive study there are many
courses on various aspects of employment law which you should consider and you
should attend as many of these as you can to develop your knowledge and

Read as much as you can on employment legislation, attend appropriate
seminars and talk to specialists. Pitch yourself as someone who is interested
and knowledgeable in your chosen area. Make sure you are ahead of the game and
have thought in advance about the implications of new employment legislation.
That way you’ll build a reputation for being an expert.

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

Any employment law role will need you to demonstrate an up-to-date knowledge
and understanding of employment legislation and current issues. While you do
not need to undertake formal study, you should consider attending regular
employment law updates and subscribe to relevant publications.

Many large organisations have central employment policy departments and this
may be a role that would suit as it would offer on the job professional

Another possibility is a small growing comp-any where you would have the
opportunity to develop the policies from scratch.

There are a number of consultancies specialising in employment law. It might
be useful to approach these to see what career opportunities they have for
someone with your experience.

Tony Clarke, senior consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

I am making the assumption that your definition of a ‘dry’ area is one that
is highly technical and has less people contact; however, there are very few
roles in HR that could be considered to be truly ‘back room’.

As you have some generalist experience, you already have the requisite background
to progress into a policy development role.

Apply to companies with large corporate HR departments which will be more
likely to have teams of HR professionals developing their responses to future
trends and legislation through the development of HR policies.

In pursuing your career options, you’ll need to convince your future
employer that you are able to develop the necessary technical knowledge; you
could do this by volunteering to attend specialist conferences. In the
short-term, this would prevent you having to commit to an MSc, but I would
recommend you consider this as a medium term project as it will make you more
marketable in the future.

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