In the UK, the Human Resources team usually accounts for c. 1% of the workforce in most private sector organisations. However, in the public sphere, this figure is slightly higher, as government agencies tend to employ more HR workers relative to their total number of employees. HR has experienced a decline in the past decade, and the field now accounts for a lower percentage of the national labour force than previously.

HR has many different specialties within it, from employment law to compensation and benefits specialists, IR (industrial relations), OD (organisational development) roles, recruitment, career guidance, employer branding, EVP (employee value proposition) and training and development. For most HR jobs, an upper level university degree (2:1 or higher) is often a prerequisite, even for entry-level positions. Businesses recruiting for HR positions tend to be especially interested in recent graduates, and while HR degrees and postgrad (CIPD in particular) qualifications may be particularly relevant, there is no specific academic qualification that is seen as conferring an outstanding advantage. Employers look for applicants with outstanding communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills, tact and sensitivity to personal issues and first-rate organisational ability. In addition, as HR strays into the world of predictive analytics, IT skills are increasingly important, while in international companies multi/bilingualism will give candidates a distinct advantage.

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