- Generalist HR assistants, officers, managers and directors
- Training and development officers, managers and directors
- Compensation and benefits specialists
- Employee relations specialists
- Performance managers
- Health and safety managers
- Resource planners
- HR Consultant
- Recruiters – including graduate recruiters
- Recruitment consultants
Generalist HR officers will be involved in some, or all, of the following: strategic resource planning, recruitment and selection, training, pay and benefits and related administration, employment contracts, handling disciplinary and grievance cases, advising management and staff on policies and procedures, creating new performance management policies, reporting on HR issues, negotiating with trade unions/staff associations or councils and much more.
Generalist HR work involves a constant change in the type of interaction you have with employees. One minute you may be supporting the business to hire new talent and the next you may be supporting a member of staff who has raised a grievance against their manager. Some HR professionals will work across the whole range of areas and others may specialise. In small organisations, where there may be only one or two HR representatives, it is more likely that you will be required to cover all areas.
Recruitment is a specialist area of HR. You can work as a recruiter within an organisation (often either focusing on graduate or experienced hire recruitment) or as recruitment consultant or headhunter. Large organisations, such as law firms, banks, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and retail companies, will often have dedicated internal recruitment teams responsible for managing the recruitment process from application through to the assessment process and making offers. The key skills for such roles are:
- very strong interpersonal skills – especially the ability to work with colleagues at all levels within the firm including very senior staff
- strong attention to detail
- the ability to multi-task effectively
Due to the high volume of recruitment in some organisations the recruitment teams may also engage the services of recruitment consultancies or headhunters to help find candidates, especially those at the senior level or with specific expertise.
Recruitment consultants and headhunters work with their clients (companies and organisation of various sizes) seeking to match prospective employees to clients’ vacancies. Recruitment consultancies often specialise in particular employment sectors and invariably, they aim to make as much commission as possible by successfully placing the individuals who register with them. The ability to build good relationships with employers is key skill to have in this sector.
This is a fast moving environment, riding high or low depending on labour market conditions; the availability of entry-level positions for graduates will also depend on the labour market. In contrast, Headhunters, actively search and approach (“headhunt”) fewer specialist or senior staff and rely more heavily on strong networks of contacts in the sectors concerned, approaching targeted individuals on behalf of prospective employers.
Salaries vary considerably depending upon location, specialism, sector and level of seniority. Basic salary levels in London range from c. £22-£32,000 for HR Assistants/Entry level, to £25-55,000 for HR Advisors and up to c £250,000 for HR Directors in some industries. Salaries outside London tend to be less. (Morgan Philips Group 2018 Salary Checker Guide). HR Graduate Schemes vary from c £23-29,000. Recruiters working in agencies tend to earn a lower basic salary and then have an element of commission and/or bonuses on top.