HR manager

When you hate your job it can feel like you're wasting your transferable skills on mundane tasks.

So if you’re looking for a job that’s dynamic, challenging and rewarding then a career as a human resources manager should tick all the boxes.




So, what will I actually be doing?

It’s your job to ensure your organisation employs the right people for the right job. Once they've been hired, you'll be making sure the staff are fully trained, performing effectively and adhering to employment law.

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The finer details...

If you've never really cared about your employer or bothered to learn your co-workers names, this might not be your dream role. You’ll need a good understanding of your organisation as you’ll need to liaise with different departments and provide information for all employees from junior staff right up to senior management.

While many work full time hours (9-5.30pm) there are often part-time or flexible working options. Although most HR managers are office based you will spend lots of time visiting other departments and attending meetings and conferences.

Most organisations have a HR department so from manufacturing to the NHS to local government there are usually plenty of opportunities for employment. With experience as a HR manager and CIPD qualifications you can climb the ladder into senior management to become HR director. The range of skills you will have learned as a HR manager will also give you good grounding if you want to hop into other areas such as training or marketing.

Money, money, money

The financial rewards of a working as a HR manager can be good with average salaries between £35k and £60k per year.

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The good points...

"No two days are the same," says Charlotte Fordham, HR Business Partner at HSBC. "You have to build good relationships, trusting in the specialists' expert knowledge while often thinking the business’ next thoughts before they’ve even thought them. The variety, the breadth, and the feeling of being trusted as an advisor to the business make for a thoroughly enjoyable role!"

...and the bad

"Key challenges of working in HR tend to be on an emotional level i.e. dealing with human emotions and difficult situations and putting on a professional ‘mask’ when you are also finding it difficult internally to have certain conversations about things like redundancy, capability dismissals due to poor health and so on," says Esther O’Halloran.

Is there study involved?

Many HR managers are qualified to degree level and have four or five years experience working in HR; however, some bigger organisations may run graduate training schemes that specialise in human resources.

To further your career in HR you can take a course at the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD). The CIPD offer a variety of courses to suit a range of experience from NVQ Level 3 in Personnel to Level 7 Professional Development Scheme. CIPD qualifications are essential to further progress and they offer courses and qualifications through full-time study, part-time study, or flexible learning. 

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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

"To succeed you need to have great tenacity and determination (or be thick skinned!) and not take criticism personally," says Esther O’Halloran, HR Director for Paul UK. A successful HR manager will also have:

  • Excellent communication, diplomatic and organisational skills
  • The ability to work under pressure and with personnel from all levels
  • Tact and the ability to deal with difficult situations
  • Good budgeting and IT skills
  • Thorough and up to date knowledge of UK employment legislation
  • An interest in career development and training within the workplace


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