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Career change into HR?

(10 Posts)
MissTediousGirl Tue 21-Jul-20 12:57:43

I'm a public sector middle manager (41, with 20 yrs service) looking for a new challenge and a bit of a change. I manage a big team (45 frontline staff) so have a lot of experience dealing with HR issues (and enjoy dealing with people challenges). Is it possible to move into HR mid-career or would it mean starting at the bottom of the ladder again? I'm happy to do extra qualifications etc but as the main breadwinner at home, can't afford to take a big pay cut. Any thoughts/advice welcome.

OP’s posts: |
CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Wed 22-Jul-20 13:00:04

I think it's difficult to move over at a mid level if that's what you're asking. It's a very competitive career, unless you were able to get some sort of internal secondment or something I think you'd struggle.

Especially at the moment things are extra hard to move around in HR.

It's quite different being in an advisory role to being the manager. You have to take a step back and get into the clients shoes (and out of your own). A lot of the time it's about assessing risks and options and presenting those to your client. It may take some adjusting to not being the 'decision maker' any more, particularly when the person you're advising wants to take a different course of action to what you would. You need to get the fine balance of influence.. not being underly or overly directive. And of course every client is different so where that balance lies will differ with each client/situation too.

MissTediousGirl Wed 22-Jul-20 19:08:53

That's really helpful. Thanks for the advice.

OP’s posts: |
SeagoingSexpot Wed 22-Jul-20 20:19:53

Would you see yourself as a generalist or specialist? An HR Business Partner or someone specialising in HR systems, employee relations, talent..? If you gained HR qualifications you might be able to get in at the HRBP level if you made the move within your existing company I think. But external jobs will have a glut of generalists who have existing experience and have come up from junior HR roles. It is a different job from being the manager yourself.

You would want to look at a Level 5 CIPD certification or a Master's in HRM I reckon.

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Fri 24-Jul-20 10:03:37

If you can cope with the instability, contracting is a good way to get experience fast, and you can build on your experience with each contract. You may need a rich husband or something though! I was planning to do this this year to get to the next level but now that CV means something very different to curriculum vitae I'm staying put where I am for now.

Mmsnet101 Fri 24-Jul-20 10:19:00

Lots of managers think they have good experience of HR from dealing with people issues, but the most important experience is dealing with another manager /team leader who is either inexperienced or going down the wrong path etc and how you got them back on track or influenced them. Think of the worst manager you know and how you deal with them rather than the people who work for you on a lower level.

If you can gain a secondment into HR where you are that would be a great stepping stone and way of working out if you do like the other side of the table before committing to the qualifications.

It's not unachievable and lots do it, Imo the managerial experience can be highly beneficial but it does need a big change in mindset too.

OneForTheRoadThen Fri 24-Jul-20 10:51:48

@SeagoingSexpot where would you recommend doing the level 5 diploma - training provider or Uni? Does where you train make much of a difference when job searching?

MissTediousGirl Fri 24-Jul-20 10:53:31

Thanks all. Lots of good advice there, esp looking into temp secondment internally. Was thinking along the HRBP generalist line - I have experience supporting other line managers in absence management, disciplinary and grievance issues, as well as being asked to mentor managers from other organisations who have been struggling with staff challenges, so enjoy that advisory supporting role. Appreciate it's not an easy path though.

OP’s posts: |
SeagoingSexpot Fri 24-Jul-20 11:58:04


*@SeagoingSexpot* where would you recommend doing the level 5 diploma - training provider or Uni? Does where you train make much of a difference when job searching?

Wherever's convenient for you and affordable, basically. Really don't think it matters for the Level 5. If you were doing the MSc I'd look at uni rankings, but even then the important thing is having it vs not having it, rather than where you got it.

OneForTheRoadThen Fri 24-Jul-20 14:18:36

Thank you @SeagoingSexpot

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