Career in Focus: Human Resources

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What does it take to work in Human Resources? Here at, we break down the skills and qualifications you need to take on a career in this area.

With the economy performing well and the jobs market booming, it is both an exciting and challenging time to enter the diverse, busy and multifaceted world of Human Resources (HR).

About Human Resources

The term HR is something which we have all heard of. However, not many people outside of the sector are familiar with what’s really involved. Working as a human resources professional means being responsible for managing the recruitment, staff career development, and client engagement.

HR firms in Ireland generally specialise in various fields, or in larger firms they might have specific divisions for various industries, such as engineering, finance, medical, tech, administrative etc. The benefits of working in HR are plenty; after establishing yourself in the field, there are lots of well-paid roles available with plenty of scope for career development. You’ll have the ability to diversify your skills throughout your career. It’s also a very egalitarian industry, with roles for both men and women equally distributed. You won’t see the same ‘glass ceiling’ nonsense that still regrettably exists in some industries.

Future Prospects

As technology continues to develop, more roles in this field are emerging, including positions that did not even exist five years ago. There are many areas of specialisation within the scope of HR and these trends are set to continue to increase as the economy continues to grow. Working in HR means there are also opportunities to expand your career internationally, particularly if you have a second language; major multinational firms in Ireland are recruiting from other countries. The reason for this is threefold: companies are seeking recruiters who can speak to the best candidates in their own language; they are making use of Ireland’s corporate tax breaks; and for US-based companies, Ireland will soon be the only English-speaking country in the EU. There is huge advancement potential in Human Resources as every top management team requires these skills. You don’t have to work within a HR agency either, you can expand your career to any sector that has a HR requirement… which is every sector.

Qualifications Required

There are Level 8 degrees available in Human Resources Management (HRM) and there are several Level 9 programmes. HR lends itself particularly well to the postgraduate market. Those from a business, marketing or consulting background, for example, can also transition relatively smoothly into this sector. Having obtained your HR qualification you can then join a business, or a HR function within a business, as a graduate. Initially, you will likely work within a general role in HR, where you gain exposure to the different aspects of the job. If you’re working in a larger company,  you are more likely to have the opportunity to specialise. While in smaller organisations, you will be more likely to cover all aspects of HR and hence gain good management experience in addition to a broad base of recruitment skills.

Handy Skillsets

In terms of what skills are a good match for a career in HR, most of what you need on a daily basis will actually be soft skills. In terms of hard skills, a good organisational aptitude, a comprehensive understanding of the tech in standard office packages and very clear and strong writing ability will all stand you in good stead. Emotional intelligence is very important in HR; this is the ability to empathise and understand the emotional concerns of others in the context of the decisions that they need to make. If you’re dealing with candidates for a job, having the ability to empathise and, where necessary, help a person make a decision, you will be a tremendous asset. Trust is also a huge element of PR, at all levels, but particularly when it comes to senior hires. You must also be able to be objective, and look at a particular role that you are recruiting for as an outsider. Yoy should be able to put yourself in the best position to understand what sort of candidates would be a good fit for it. Obviously, the ability to network is a huge asset and can help you build connections across various industries and at every level.

A good resource for further information on a career in Human Resources is available from the website of the Certified Institute of Personnel Development (


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