Big businesses worldwide realise that labour costs are their biggest expenditure. They appreciate the importance of getting their workforce right and are willing to spend money expanding and honing an HR division that will allow them to recruit and retain the best candidates available.
The best range of diverse entry-level positions and graduate schemes are available in:
Places on HR graduate schemes will usually be fewer than those in other functions within the same organisation, making competition extremely high.
More general graduate management schemes can also offer the option to specialise in HR on completion of the scheme, and places on these are usually open to graduates from all disciplines.
SMEs are organisations with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of no more than £44million. Working for a smaller company can be rewarding because you are more likely to forge a path for yourself within the company, although opportunities to try other departments may be limited.
SMEs are unlikely to use the testing and assessment techniques of larger companies or follow lengthy recruitment procedures. SMEs are more likely to advertise their vacancies through the local press, university careers service bulletins, local graduate vacancy listings, jobcentres and word of mouth, rather than rely on their reputation and a presence at graduate recruitment fairs.
Your university careers services should have listings of jobs with small firms. See also the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Working for a smaller company can be rewarding as it provides the opportunity to experience all aspects of HR, from recruitment to training and development, although there may be fewer opportunities to specialise in a particular area. Executive search consultancies and HR consultancies often fall into the category of SMEs, perhaps catering to a niche market or a small, high-profile client base.
Self-employment or freelance work as an HR or recruitment consultant is possible and becoming increasingly widespread as organisations turn to external providers for expertise in particular areas. These areas might include employment law and delivery of staff training. It is also becoming increasingly popular to outsource HR functions, particularly recruitment.
Freelance work is not usually a first career choice, as it requires experience in the field and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification is essential. Therefore, freelancers have usually first gained experience working for a company while building up contacts and expertise.
Freelancing can mean unpredictable workloads and requires commitment, industry knowledge and careful planning.
Find out more about self-employment.
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