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How can we make HR a more appealing career?

Posted on by from CIPD

Many HR practitioners admit that they “fell into” their profession. So how can we encourage young people to see HR as a valuable, varied and rewarding career choice? Claire Bishop explores a new digital way.

How can you champion HR as a career of choice?

The world of work has evolved considerably over recent decades, but one thing has remained consistent – the value people bring to businesses. In today’s fast-moving economy this has never been truer, but despite its significance in developing the workforce, HR still struggles to be seen as an exciting and rewarding career option. So why is this and how can we champion HR as a career of choice for young people?

HR often stalls between practice and profession and many see its professionals as ‘falling into’ the industry or entering indirectly, later in life. However, this actually demonstrates that HR is unusually flexible, enabling professionals to work in every sector and many different roles. From recruitment and training to pay and employee rights, there are many areas and opportunities to explore and specialise. There are also increasing ways for young people to enter the industry directly, from work experience and tailored university courses, to ‘earn while you learn’ apprentice schemes.

The power of gamification

We’ve recently seen signs that more young people are considering HR as a career. At a school careers event recently I was approached by sixth form students who wanted more information about apprenticeships, as they were ‘fascinated by how HR can make a business successful through people’. They’d heard this from family members working in HR which is often the case for those who understand the HR’s value to business – although reassuring to hear, we have a long way to go to reach those who’ve had little exposure to the profession.

So, to raise awareness of the many avenues into HR and L&D, the CIPD has launched a virtual 'HR world' with careers advice innovators Plotr. Aimed at 11-24 year olds and offering fascinating career stories, opportunities and advice, HR world enables young people to see the roles available across the HR industry through gamification, so they can explore future career options and understand what a long-term career in HR might look like.

Discover the world of HR

For those already in the profession, there’s a real opportunity to promote the ways HR impacts businesses, to help others understand and aspire to be a part. There’s a deep-rooted stigma that HRs are still ‘the people that hire and fire’ but with rising pay, growing opportunities, a wide scope for movement in and out of businesses and a range of roles, it’s now time that perceptions of HR make room for reality and encourage a new wave of entrants into the industry.

Constant advances in the industry are ensuring that HR professionals support wider business objectives and create a happier, more productive workforce, from improvements in behavioural science to performance analytics and the development of more sophisticated processes and practices. There are many new ways to showcase how HR is an essential and strategic business function and the CIPD is leading and inspiring the profession in meeting future challenges. By encouraging young people to see how HR drives business success and understand the range of opportunities available, we will see HR recognised for the exciting and rewarding profession it is.

You can view the HR world here: https://www.plotr.co.uk/careers/worlds/hr-world

Claire Bishop

By Claire Bishop

Claire is head of career development at the CIPD.

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