What does your future hold?

Steve Francis, HR manager, Saint-Gobain Quartz

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
In a general management role, running a significant business unit.

How easy will it be to get there?
It will be difficult in the UK because the profile of HR with other senior professions is low. The general expec-tation is that managing directors and similar should come from a finance or technical background. This is especially prevalent in the manufacturing industries.

What do you feel could hinder your progress?
I’ve worked at senior level for five years and have been exposed to the running of the business throughout that time, but I would need to take additional qualifications, such as an MBA. Or I could move into an HR role in the service sector, but there seems to be a barrier between manufacturing and the service sector, which can’t be breached.

Tania Hackett, HR manager, Pizza Express

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Working as an HR director, near where I live, so I can see my children and have reasonable work-life balance.

How easy will it be to get there?
It is not an easy goal – commuting long distances, a full-time job, two young children and study.

What do you feel could hinder your progress?
My inability to say ‘no’ and taking too much on, and by not effectively agreeing and setting boundaries with my manager and my family.

Lorraine Mercer, HR manager, Meridian Healthcare

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
My ultimate goal is to progress to the role of HR director. I’m not working to a set time-scale, but I am hopeful that it will be in less than five years.

How easy will it be to get there?
It is important to demonstrate to key stakeholders that I am able to lead a function that delivers an HR service that truly adds value to the business.

Progress towards my goal will strongly depend on how much time and effort I am prepared to put into my own personal development.

What do you feel could hinder your progress?
It is important the board continues to be supportive of HR. If this support were to wane or be removed, devel-opment of the HR function – and my role within it – would be extremely difficult. I cannot allow myself to enter into a comfort zone, believing the next role will just happen.

Jenny Downes, assistant director HR, Asthma UK

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
At HR director level within an organisation with which I have a personal interest. This – and having a good work-life balance – is more motivational than financial reward. This is the same for a number of our senior managers who have made the transition to the voluntary sector from the commercial world.

How easy will it be to get there?
Getting a job at director level isn’t the hard thing, it’s waiting for the right opportunity to come along – and that depends on where your interests lie. However, once the chance does arise, being able to demonstrate passion and empathy towards the cause will stand you in good stead.

What do you feel could hinder your progress?
Having been with Asthma UK for seven years, I have limited knowledge of how other charities work. I have stayed because I have been promoted twice, but, in the interests of advancing my career, perhaps I should have moved on some time ago.

Claire Matthews, HR generalist, Getty Images

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I would like to be performing in a global recruitment manager/business partner role, working for an organisation that I feel passionate about and one where I feel able to continuously develop and learn.

How easy will it be to get there?
I work in an environment where I have been able to gain a vast amount of HR and business knowledge in the past three years – and the CIPD qualification – and will be stepping into a recruitment manager position in January to cover maternity leave for a year. With this opportunity, I feel I will gain the necessary skills to reach my five-year goal.

What do you feel could hinder your progress?
Specialising too much in one area, such as recruitment, might limit the future opportunities open to me, as could competition from other well-qualified HR professionals.



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