Recruitment and human resources (HR) are increasingly viewed as distinct industries with related areas of work. Both are growing considerably and have seen significant changes over the past decade. These changes have helped HR to shed its former image as a welfare or administrative role, and it is now recognised as a key function in driving business forward and influencing business strategy.
Companies recognise the value and importance of their HR functions and the need to recruit and retain the best workforce. Increasingly, organisations are employing graduates with key skills into HR roles, so this is a popular and competitive sector.
Recruitment is becoming an increasingly significant source of graduate employment. Roles may either be based in-house, managing the recruitment needs of an organisation, or in a consultancy/agency, handling recruitment for a range of clients.
Executive recruitment consultancies and head hunters typically operate in specialist areas sourcing candidates for senior appointments. They often approach individuals directly rather than advertising openly - hence the term 'headhunting'.
Specialist HR roles are available in large organisations and include the following areas:
A generalist HR role encompasses all of the above duties. Generalist roles are usually found in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Job roles in recruitment consultancies include:
Salaries vary considerably depending upon location, industry sector and level of seniority. Salaries range from £16,000 to £20,000 for an HR administrator (Changeboard, 2011). At the other end of the scale, HR directors can earn six-figure salaries (UK Graduate Careers, 2011).
Salary may also be affected by your specialism. Typically, specialist roles earn a greater salary than generalist roles. Most HR professionals have contracted hours of 35-37.5 a week, although many work more hours than this.
On average, a starting salary into recruitment can be as low as £15,000. But this is an industry where commission plays a big part in the salary, which can sometimes more than double with on-target earnings (OTE). Experienced recruitment consultants can expect to earn a much higher salary and commission. As with HR, salaries in recruitment vary considerably according to role and sector.
Specialist search executives and headhunters in lucrative sectors can earn in excess of £70,000 OTE. Recruiters in the IT sector can expect to earn the highest total salaries, with the finance sector paying the second highest. The lowest total salaries for recruiters are paid in the healthcare sector. (Figures obtained from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), 2011.)
Recruitment consultants often work long hours, contacting clients at the end of the working day.
HR and recruitment are large industries that span numerous sectors. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for HR and its current membership stands at 135,000. Of these, 60% are employed in the private sector (services), 33% in the public sector and 7% in the voluntary/not-for-profit sector (CIPD, 2011).
The professional body representing the recruitment industry is the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) . REC reports that the number of people working in recruitment has fallen from nearly 96,000 in 2010 to just over 80,000 in 2011.
The majority of companies in the UK have an HR department. Research the different sectors and pick the one which best suits you. All sectors are different and offer varying complexities and opportunities. It's important to know that depending on the sector you start working in, it can be difficult to move into a different sector.
While there are many HR and recruitment roles based around the UK, many executive search consultancies and graduate HR schemes tend to be based in London or other large cities where their clients or organisations operate.
For more information about working internationally in recruitment and HR, see opportunities abroad.
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