I am early 40s. I was made redundant from a well paid, part time senior management position last year when the company was taken over and moved overseas. It was a very specialist field and the only company of its type in this country.
My industry knowledge is now redundant and I have no professional qualifications. My most transferable skill is people management and dealing with HR type issues, as a manager guided by an external HR consultancy. It was an area where I had a natural aptitude and had a very good track record of understanding the issues and resolving situations without drama. As a manager of 50+ over 15 years I was involved in disciplinary action, maternity rights, return to work issues and flexible working, disability issues etc. It is this area that interests me - I'm not at all interested in training or recruitment.
I really want to build a new career and feel as energetic and motivated as when I left uni but I now have 3 small children and still 10 years before the youngest leaves primary school. I can use the redundancy payment to fund CIPD MSC study but realistically what are my career prospects with this and my former experience ?
Does anyone have any advice ? Am I too old to become a senior professional in this field ? I am SE based.
I have had a career in HR and I have to say it is a job that I have loved! If I had my time again I would do exactly the same. I have to say though, that it is incredibly difficult to get into HR. It took me a while after having specialised in HR as part of Business Studies and I was partially CIPD qualified. I entered via the recruitment route, but I notice that this is not an area that grabs you! Many graduates end up climbing the ranks via the administrative route but I always think that a lot is simply luck, being single minded and being in the right place at the right time. You've certainly got the right sort of background and already gained valuable experience that you can 'sell'.
I have certainly seen some very experienced 'people managers' move across into HR and often, depending on the culture of the Company and sector, they have instant credibility. However, it is much easier to move across in a Company that knows you. You have indicated that getting back into a management position could be problematic. I have had several friends move into large man-management positions from HR: in areas like workforce planning in councils or Health Service, managing care workers etc. This might be your best bet and then once in, move to HR from that.
An MSc would be a good start, but I would try and aim for one of the more prestigious Universities if I could and perhaps specialise in an area that interests you - you've mentioned Employment Law. There is far more specialisation now, than when I started out.
I think it is harder to get into HR in your 40's, there is no denying that and I sometimes feel HR is a 'young persons' profession but I think us 'oldies' just do different types of HR roles.
There are some good magazines (you may already be familiar with these) People Management and Personnel Today, which can help you keep up-to- date, these may be available in your local library. In one of them there is a 'career clinic', where you can pose the same question of recruitment experts!
HTH, I wish you all the best. PM me if I can help.
Thanks for your reply, its extremely useful. Might post again with more questions soon but today's issue is how to reconcile the need for FT work to break into the profession with young family. Different post!