CIPD or Employment Law qualification?

(19 Posts)
thisisatempname Sun 29-Sep-19 09:11:31

So I hate my employer and I am currently going through an employment tribunal process with help from my union. I like my job but it is an extremely niche sector.

My employer is the main employer and highest paying employer of this particular qualification / skill that I have. If I leave, I will struggle to find alternative work unless I take a large pay cut and / or move to another part of the UK.

So I'm thinking of retraining. My current experience has developed a real interest in employment law. I've done a lot of reading up on case law and it really interests me.

However, courses are £9000 in total, which is more than I'd like to pay.

I'm also not sure if there are many jobs in employment law. I don't think I want to be a solicitor, but would prefer an advisory and/or policy role.

An alternative is to do the CIPD level 5 which can be paid in installments and is more affordable. There seem to be more jobs in HR but my concern is that they tend to ask for experience too so I might have to take a pay cut again to get my foot in the door and I couldn't afford a pay cut. Also I don't know if I want to work for a company rather than helping the individual.

Those who work in HR or Law - which option might be best for me in terms of both salary and employment prospects?

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Boobiliboobiliboo Sun 29-Sep-19 09:19:19

I work in HR. I didn’t do formal qualifications for it and gained CIPD level 7 via experience assessment rather than a course. You haven’t said what salary you would be looking at but anything over about £25k (HR advisor type level which is a bit above entry level) will ask for CIPD level 5 plus some experience. Companies tend to have qualified lawyers to advise in addition to HR so unless you wanted to get into a law-heavy specialism (redundancy/TUPE type stuff) the employment law course won’t be hugely helpful to you.

thisisatempname Sun 29-Sep-19 09:49:39

Thank you

I am currently on £35000 pa

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Africa2go Sun 29-Sep-19 10:00:20

Agree that an employment law qualification is unlikely to open many doors for you - companies / individuals needing formal advice are more likely to instruct a qualified lawyer.

flowery Sun 29-Sep-19 10:47:43

What ‘employment law qualification’ is it exactly?

I agree though, you are unlikely to get work specialising in just employment law, especially without experience. Employment law is only one part of HR, and if you want to go into HR a broader qualification will be much more useful.

You’ll need to take a pay cut though. Do you have any transferable skills?

MrsMaiselsMuff Sun 29-Sep-19 10:51:35

Also worth considering which 'side' you wish to be on, employer or worker? Remember that HR represent the interests of the business, so effectively working against the position you're currently in.

thisisatempname Sun 29-Sep-19 11:26:17

I found employment law courses at leicester and de montfort universities.

My job is actually E&D adviser although it is not my actual qualification nor what the organisation is known for.

I moved sideways into this role a few years ago after doing a role more aligned to my qualification. I had a lot of relevant voluntary experience which helped me get the new role.

Sorry if this sounds vague, but I don't want to out myself as my employer is very well known.

It is ironic that I'm going through the courts for discrimination considering my role.

So I'm thinking of doing something related to E&D either in HR or Law.

I'd rather not take a pay cut though sad

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flowery Sun 29-Sep-19 12:20:19

Ok well if you’re already an E&D Adviser that’s very relevant, loads of organisations employ those. Can you get a job doing that somewhere else, study CIPD alongside and then move sideways?

What qualification do these employment law courses lead to?

NeedAnExpert Sun 29-Sep-19 12:48:43

Remember that HR represent the interests of the business, so effectively working against the position you're currently in.

Not necessarily. I’m very firmly on both sides 99% of the time.

thisisatempname Sun 29-Sep-19 13:33:40

@flowery yes I've been looking at similar roles but they tend to ask for qualifications in HR or Law of which I have neither and obviously I'd rather help the individual rather than the company

@needanexpert sadly not my experience I'm afraid. My grievance is against both my manager and HR for discrimination. HR went on the attack rather than supporting me.

I guess I may have to just find the 'right' organisation.

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NeedAnExpert Sun 29-Sep-19 13:43:47

Your singular experience?

This has been my career for well over 15 years. Only in one organisation was HR actively there only to support the company. I left after 4 months. Sacking people because they weren’t earning the company money didn’t fit with my values.

I’m now in the public sector. Heavily unionised and I spend a lot of time encouraging managers to be compassionate and to find compromises rather than be rigid. On top of meeting their statutory obligations, of course. We’ve just won a discrimination tribunal because the claimant couldn’t show that they had been discriminated against at all. (Their union didn’t support their tribunal claim, which was telling.)

flowery Sun 29-Sep-19 13:44:54

”obviously I'd rather help the individual rather than the company”

That does significantly reduce your options though. You could work for a trade union, or for a law firm commonly representing employees, or for some charitable organisation providing similar, if any left. Pay cut though, if any pay at all, for that!

Most good HR people will genuinely want to make it a good, supportive workplace for staff, but ultimately they are employed to support the business, so in a dispute they will protect the interests of the employer primarily. If you definitely want to work on the side of the individual not the employer, HR probably isn’t for you.

thisisatempname Sun 29-Sep-19 14:42:14

Thanks @flowery I'll continue to explore my options. I did think of trade unions or charity sector though.

@NeedAnExpert I'm in the public sector. Non departmental public body. Huge organisation. HR royally fucked up and my union are supporting me.

Its not the first time a company's HR have discriminated against me (both public and private), but the first time I decided to make a stand.

Lots of evidence too in spite of their numerous policies and training. Plus I'm not the only person who has submitted an ET claim against them.

Lots to think about anyway and more research to undertake.

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leghairdontcare Sun 29-Sep-19 14:56:14

Trade union work will depend on where you live - check out the tuc jobs page for an example of what's available. There tend to be main regional hubs. Apart from the treatment you received, if you enjoyed your E&D role look at universities too.

Unfortunately, I do agree that if you've had a bad experience with an employer HR may leave a sour taste in your mouth - especially at a senior level. Obviously it does depend on the employer and the culture but that's very difficult to predict.

flowery Sun 29-Sep-19 15:07:20

Legal Exec?

NeedAnExpert Sun 29-Sep-19 15:13:08

Plus I'm not the only person who has submitted an ET claim against them.

It’s free to submit an ET claim, so that isn’t unusual.

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Sun 29-Sep-19 17:06:45

I'd go for the CIPD as it's the gold standard for HR jobs and will give you a much broader exposure to the profession.

You can then specialise in employee relationships if you wish.

Bear in mind that your loyalty will be to the management team and you may not always be adhering to best practice, depending on how commercial the sector/organisation.

I work in a very commercial sector and am often asked how to bend the rules or what can we get away with, or can we chance it trying for x knowing we'll backtrack to y if employee challenges. So you may be involved in what you may see as shifting people, whereas management will see it as saving money whilst minimising risk, or perhaps taking a calculated risk.

Its interesting work but you need to be quite hard hearted sometimes.

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Sun 29-Sep-19 17:13:20

Just to add, that's the very commercial private sector type industries where it's all about profit. Public sector organisations may be a lot more respectful of best practice. I've done HR in both plus other sectors and its astonishing how different the approach can be in different industries. So think about industry sector if you do decide to do HR.

Redcliff Sun 29-Sep-19 23:03:32

I would suggest you apply for E and D jobs in the charity or education sector and then see if they can sponser you to do your cipd.

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