Top job: Mark Pearce, group head of HR, SEGRO

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

I’ve been at SEGRO (formally Slough Estates) for four years, with responsibility for designing and implementing new organisational structures, integrating new people following acquisitions and making the HR function more business-focused.

What qualifications do you hold?

An HND in business and finance and a post-graduate diploma in HR management.

What are the duties in your new role?

Overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the HR department and developing and implementing our people strategy.

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

Talent management will remain a key challenge.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

E-mail is useful but over-utilised.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A remote control to fast forward through unproductive meetings.

What is the worst thing about HR?

It is an interesting and diverse profession suffering from an image problem.

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

I love comedy and to laugh. For me this is the best way to switch off.

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

Having a conversation with a student who was working part time and having to explain that coming in to work was an essential part of the arrangement. To which she replied, “But what if I am too busy?”

What was your lucky break?

I was looking for my first job in HR and met the HR manager of a London hotel chain at a dinner party and that led to my first job.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Intuitive, inquisitive and sociable.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Carl Jung for his philosophy, Norman Foster because of my love of architecture, Bjork for her music and Jennifer Saunders for the jokes.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Join a networking forum. It is important to build up a group of people on whom you can rely for advice, support and knowledge.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Reuniting my father with his long-lost family.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Everything happens for a reason.

Pearce’s CV

Apr 2008-present – Group head of HR, SEGRO (property investment and development)

Apr 2007-Apr 2008 – Head of HR, UK and continental Europe, SEGRO

Apr 2004-Apr 2007 – HR business partner, SEGRO

Apr 1995-Apr 2004 – Sainsbury’s. Roles included HR business associate and recruitment manager.

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