Regional view: Belfast

Employers recruiting HR professionals in Belfast will tend to look for an ideal blend of qualifications and specific industry experience – for example, they may require Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications alongside HR experience in the banking sector.

Although practitioners will in the main develop their careers within their chosen sector, we have seen an increased interest in public sector roles, largely due to the benefits provided and perceived security during the current downturn. The public sector is also one of the largest employers in Belfast, accounting for around 40% of the working population.

Given the high degree of competition in the jobs market, individuals need to make sure that their CVs make an immediate impact. Any generalist or specialist HR experience needs to be clearly presented, enabling employers to shortlist suitable applicants with greater ease based on the skills required. Research prior to the interview is essential and will help make a positive impression, which is essential in the current climate – research conducted by Hays revealed that only 14% of employers felt that candidates were much better prepared than they were before the recession began.

Workforce planning is going to be key for 2010 as HR departments focus heavily on recruitment and retention. We are already starting to see employers hiring reward specialists to revisit reward structures, in some cases to streamline and cut costs, but in many cases to help boost staff retention.

For professionals looking to relocate, Belfast is a city with much to offer. There are good opportunities for HR practitioners to develop their careers within blue-chip organisations and the city is home to some of the world’s largest and most prestigious multinationals, accounting for almost a third of the Northern Ireland workforce. Typical salaries for HR assistants in Belfast are £16,000 to £18,000; HR advisers can expect to earn £20,000 to £25,000 while for HR managers the band is £30,000 to £35,000.

Belfast has enjoyed significant levels of inward investment and economic growth over the past decade with unemployment rates below the UK average. It is a cosmopolitan city with an enviable work-life balance. The relatively low population density and extensive road networks means that few people commute for more than 45 minutes each day, which is not something that applies to many other cities in the UK. The city is well-served by public transport, with two airports, Belfast International and George Best Belfast City Airport.

Information provided by Hays Human Resources.

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