Alternative or similar job titles… Employee relations (ER) officer, ER adviser, case officer.
What is involved?… Industrial relations (IR) officers ensure employer/employee relations are fair and effective. They provide advice and guidance to managers on disciplinary and grievance cases, policy development and trade union consultation. They also keep up to date with employment law and anything affecting employees’ rights. They will work with management to implement IR strategies and plans and may contribute to the formulation of those policies.
What you need… A good degree, CIPD qualification and a minimum of two to three years’ experience in an industrial relations environment. You will also need significant knowledge of employment law and good knowledge of personnel policies, practices and procedure. You will have excellent project management, communication and conflict resolution skills.
How to get into it… It is possible to gain direct entry via an HR-related degree with the emphasis on employment legislation, but it is more usual to enter through progression within an organisation. Start out in a more generalist HR role and gain relevant exposure and experience.
Prospects… Individuals who work in this field are normally looking to specialise as opposed to being a generalist. You could progress to an ER manager role, moving into policy development and implementing company policy through interpretation of employment law. Strong candidates with good experience will usually find themselves snapped up quite quickly, as most large organisations will employ an IR or ER specialist, and there is a general shortage of high-calibre candidates in this key function.