Top job: Jemma Shire, director of staffing and workforce planning EMEA, Hewlett Packard

Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?

I was the director of HR business development in EMEA, leading a team of HR consultants supporting the pursuit and transition of new outsourcing business in HP and subsequently within EDS.

What qualifications do you hold?

I have a degree in English and linguistics, a post-graduate qualification in management and CIPD qualifications.

What are the duties in your new role?

Leading the staffing and workforce planning function for EMEA – we are responsible for recruitment, which includes graduate recruitment and brand management, plus workforce management and mobility.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Helping the business take tough measures to effectively manage through the economic crisis and keeping people focused on the future in challenging times.

What is the most overrated aspect of your job?

Travelling all the time has a huge impact on your work-life balance and takes away valuable work time. People think it’s glamorous, but it’s not.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A tool that stops people using ‘reply to all’ on e-mails that I don’t need to see.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Having to describe to people who don’t understand what we do how HR makes a contribution to the business.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

Getting out in the fresh air (walking, cycling, spending time in my garden) helps me switch off.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

I spent two years on Lloyds TSB’s graduate trainee scheme. My first assignment was in a bank branch, where one day I was held up at gunpoint in a raid.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Calm, determined and optimistic.

What was your lucky break?

Being offered an HR role in HP’s growing outsourcing business. This set the framework for the next six years of my career and enabled me to develop specialist HR expertise in outsourcing and M&A.

What do you regret about your career?

I’m lucky not to have any regrets and feel very happy with the career choices I’ve made.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Author JK Rowling, comedian Eddie Izzard and former US president Bill Clinton.

Shire’s CV

  • Apr 2009-present – Director of staffing and workforce planning EMEA, HP (IT)
  • Mar 2006-Mar 2009 – Director of HR business development EMEA, HP Outsourcing Services and EDS (IT)
  • Jun 2002-Mar 2006 – HR principal, Outsourcing Services EMEA, HP 
  • Apr 2001-Jun 2002 – Business HR partner for Outsourcing Services UK, HP
  • Apr 2000-Apr 2001 – Staffing manager for HP Laboratories, HP
  • Nov 1997-Apr 2000 – Assistant manager, employee relations, Lloyds TBS Bank (financial services)

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