Limiting their point of focus to a sole HR management position is unwise, as they possess a certain versatility upon completion of study and like any people-oriented field, the HR management field is subject to evolution and shifts in perspectives.
There are several options available for the HR industry newcomers. Most consultancies and organisations require new hires to contribute a few years of general HR management duties, before they can specialise or diversify. Three distinct pathways are available for consideration – business leader, HR leader or HR specialist.
A business leader position would involve supplementing existing HR qualifications with knowledge in business and finance operations to gain experience to run organisations. A business leader must be willing to be independent from HR and seek new experience in other areas, including technology. A HR management background supplemented with diversification of skills could also open the gates to a position in top management.
“In the past, most chief executive officers (CEOs) were people with technical or financial backgrounds, but now I see people from human resources getting positions in top management. Harvard Business Review recently published an article on how skills of HR officers make them great CEOs, highlighting a new possibility for us,” says Ahmad Raji.
On the flip side, specialising in HR management involves gaining a deeper understanding of the field’s importance and contribution to organisational success. Junior HR officers can be promoted to specialised departments such as compensation, recruitment, talent management, industry relations and even legal positions. Some officers move from bigger companies to start up or join specialised HR consultancies, or even become freelance consultants.
As Ahmad Raji sums it up, “Whatever option you choose, the only way to grow and move forward is to plan your education and career, prioritise personal and career development as well as enhance networking within and outside of your organisation of employment.”