How to get in…
The most common route into this area is to specialise after gaining a few years’ generalist experience as an HR adviser or manager. A CIPD qualification is usually a minimum requirement.
What it involves…
With the rise in employment and equal opportunities legislation, the need for HR professionals specialising in these areas is increasing. Most large organisations will have an HR professional responsible for ensuring that they comply with legislation, and that there is a non-discriminatory relationship between management and employees.
Duties and responsibilities for employee and industrial relations officers will include (depending on seniority):
Development and deployment of industrial relations (IR)/employer relations (ER) strategy
Supporting senior managers with IR/ER issues
Dealing with grievance and discipline processes
Solving disputes with unions/management.
Tasks for equal opportunity officers will include (depending on seniority):
Developing and implementing equal opportunity plans, policies and procedures
Advising the management team on legislation.
Gaining on-the-job experience is the best way to progress, gradually increasing your knowledge and exposure to complex issues and cases. To advance in this specialist area, you will need to demonstrate:
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Good negotiating and analytical skills
A strong understanding of current employment law.
There is no significant difference in pay between the commercial and public sectors. Salaries also remain consistent throughout the UK and are only elevated in London, with pay being on average 23% more for commerce and industry roles, and 12% more for those in the public sector.