Human Resources Manager

What do you do for a living?

I work in Human Resources - in the past have done generalist roles and currently specialise in Employment policy.

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?

I started as a young management trainee with Marks and Spencer, which involved training in all aspects of management before I chose to specialise
in HR. The career support was very poor and I did a lot of personal research to find this opportunity.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

As above, management training scheme, learning on the job, augmented by business lead development in workshops. Opportunities exist to do professional development qualification, which is now very desirable although when I was training it was less so. I would encourage everyone now to do it.

Talk us through a day in your life.

I work in a Group (or head office) based role, therefore the work I do impacts the entire company which employs over 100,000 people. I might have meetings with key stakeholders for a  project I'm managing or a policy I'm developing to gather feedback or views. I might have to meet with our Union representatives to discuss and negotiate any changes that need to be made or any developments that we want to explore.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

Yes, when I was 18 I knew Iwanted to work in a people role and in a management capacity. However, from the age of 10 until I was about 16, I wanted to be a journalist and my other options when I left school were related University courses which I had secured offers for.

What did your parents want you to do?

My parents wanted me to do what would make me happy, although my Dad, having had to do his degree at night while he worked full time, had wanted me to go to university as he saw it as a fantastic opportunity. He was surprised when I told him I wanted to do the Management training course instead, but he was supportive and very proud of my achievements.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

Now, I would advise them to explore a HR/business degree and complete their CIPD. I would also encourage them to explore the various options that exist as HR management is, from my experience quite different to the standard grade curriculum.

What other career directions could you go in? 

I currently specialise in Employment policy, but could also work in Reward, Learning and Devlopment, Employee Relations, Employee engagement or I could work as a business partner working to support the managers who lead the business. With the skills I've developed, I could also work in Change or Project management