Into HR career

With HR becoming a key strategic contributor to business, it has become a much sought after function for job aspirants today. However, several HR professionals complain that finding a job within the HR domain is not and easy task. Here’s what some top leaders have to say about this ironical perception.

These are people who get us our jobs, organize lucrative induction sessions, introduce us to the right mentors, address issues related to employee grievances and ensure our journey into any organization is a smooth one. HR professionals are no longer just doing back end jobs, but are now considered active decision makers too in subjects related to business. The creativity and innovation that they bring to the table in matters concerning recruitment, the incentive approach they harbor towards people management and experiments that they conduct to ensure retention and employee motivation are a few factors that led to the transformation of HR from being timekeeping function to key strategic contributor to business goals.

Several aspirants are ken on starting a career in HR as it throws lucrative opportunities. Career analysts point out that demand for HR jobs will increase in the future and the median annual income for careers in HR too will shoot up. However, in India, it has been observed that getting a job in the HR department is not an easy task. Also, people already in HR who is seeking out for a change find it difficult to grab a good opportunity as not many vacancies are advertised as openly as the rest.

Why is it so difficult for HR professionals to find a job for themselves? Most organizations work on an average ratio of 100:1 which means, for 100 employees there is one HR personnel that is hired. Also, the size of the HR department depends on the culture and size of the organization. The trend also seen these days is that of organizations resorting to technology and outsourcing HR transactions. However in certain verticals like BPO, the number of HR personnel required is more because of the size of the organization and high levels of hiring and attrition that take place.

An organization may grow multiple folds, but a good ratio of an HR team in any organization will be less than 1 per cent for large organizations and 1 to 1.5 per cent for medium and small organizations of the total strength of the organization. Hence, if you compare the availability of opportunities compared to other professions, the opening are very less.

Finishing MBA around 25 years ago, HR heads of different companies were not very well known. But now, there are some very big names and people have become like brands in HR. Therefore, it is seen as recognition of HR as a function itself taking place very significantly in the past 10 years or so. And also, even in terms of what these people get paid and the kind of responsibilities they shoulder, there is a very big change form what it was earlier; therefore, one is not very sure whether getting jobs per se has become difficult for them. But what is important to realize is that the quantum of jobs in HR is basically less.

There are seven management functions of a human resources (HR) department staffing performance appraisals compensation and benefits, training and development, employee and labor and human resource research. The HRM staff in larger organizations may include human resource generalists and human resource specialists too. As the name implies, a HR generalist is routinely with all seven HRM functions while an HR specialist focuses his / her attention on only one of the seven responsibilities. So, has the trend changed from hiring generalists HR people to hiring specialists HR managers?

While at a middle management level specialist skills may be required, at top and operational levels, generalist skills are preferred. Specialists: HR professionals might be in demand when that particular industry vertical is growing but it is always the generalists professionals who are more in demand as they have the expertise of working with various industry verticals goals, every HR professional aspires to head the HR department of an organization and one can only do that by being a generalist equipped with the knowledge of all HR domains.

These terms are used normally at the entry and middle levels where people do undifferentiated jobs, which are largely transactional in nature. If you look at HR out sourcing then certainly, it requires a certain level of specialization. But if you look at the bulk of jobs, about 60-70 per cent of them are in functional Hr. For person working in HR, you have to know everything. You can’t afford to be a master of just one area as at some point, it will hamper your growth. Hence, if you are getting into an organization, it is best to have wide range of HR exposure.

This goes by the maturity of the organization. In large organizations each sub function of HR will have accountability for that particular vertical and it is important to have specialists in those areas, whereas in small organizations, generalists can play multiple roles within HR. For example, we created a specialist role for performance management recently in order to link the scorecard approach to Performance Management Systems (PMS) All that we did was move a HR generalist to win this process and groomed him /her to be a specialist in PMS.

So, what is that HR professionals should keep in mind in order to crack it through some good jobs? In my opinion before seeking n opportunity in HR, it is important for aspirants to understand the underlined purpose of this function. HR professionals at junior levels should be open to working in various HR sub-domains and should not restrict themselves to one particular sub-domain. As they climb up the organizational ladder, they should look to some form of specialization to the middle level and again generalize at a senior level.

So, if you were finding it difficult to crack it through that HR job, apply these tips and you are sure to land yourself a great job soon.

  • Garima Kothari

    this is truly insightful

  • PS

    Interesting read. Thanks for the wonderful article.