Careers in HR have progressed to become a career of choice and not just a career that you fell into as in years gone by. Previously, you may have fallen into HR because you were someone that had good people skills and so could be a good ‘front person’ for the company and therefore you were automatically shown a seat in the personnel department. The movement from HR being an almost accidental career to becoming a career of choice has meant that the HR profession is something that individuals earmark as the path to take, one which could ultimately lead to management, director or vice president status within global organisations.

Human resource professionals are involved with recruitment, training, career development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, industrial relations, employment law, compliance, disciplinary and grievance issues, redundancies and so on. With the arrival of many multinational companies in Ireland over the past 20 years, HR has become a more established function within the organisation – many HR people are now gaining strong experience in employee relations, recruitment and training within busy HR departments. 

As an experienced recruiter within the HR sector, I have encountered many candidates over the years who have described the career path in Human Resources (HR) as diverse and challenging. Many found themselves initially in an officer or generalist role covering all aspects of the field or specialising in one of the many different functions.  Some examples of specialist HR roles include Recruitment & Selection, Training & Development, Employee Relations and Compensation & Benefits. 

Job growth in the sector has certainly grown significantly over the past 5-10 years and we have seen a 15-20% increase year on year in the demand for qualified and experienced HR professionals including HR Generalists, HR Business Partners, HR Manager and Directors due to the demand in ensuring HR activities within the organisation are compliant to employment legislation and a move to aligning the overall HR function to the long term company strategy.  In the opening months of 2013, we have seen a number of executive-level HR Manager and HR Director opportunities become vacant due to strategic promotions within busy multinational environments which are very encouraging for HR personnel currently progressing their career to a senior level.

Salaries certainly have moved in line with the demand of talented people in this sector and Collins McNicholas each year reviews the salary levels across the board when conducting the annual salary survey – salaries in the HR profession at present are falling in the following brackets:

HR Director level – €80-€110

HR Manager level – €60-€80

HR Generalist level – €40-€60

HR Graduate level – €20-€25

Over the past ten years, we have noticed that more and more graduates have opted for a Bachelors Degree, and continued on to complete a Masters degree covering a range of HR modules to ensure they are effectively qualified to move forward with their career.  The growing interest in the HR sector means roles in this sector are now fiercely competitive at an administrative or junior/trainee level to gain the first step on the career ladder.  An increasing number of organisations require degree qualifications, experience in business or administrative roles in their particular business sector coupled with professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).  

As a career in HR is an attractive option to graduates, we would advise those considering a career in this field to plan their education path effectively and then choose relevant work experience to ensure you make the right moves towards securing that dream job.  

As your career progresses we would always recommend candidates ensure that they add to their skill set, as in order to progress your career to more senior Human Resource roles you may also need business management, finance and operations exposure depending on the organisation you are working in. You must be prepared to develop a deep understanding of the business your employer is engaged in to ensure you have the tools to grow your career further.

Certainly over the years talking with candidates from entry-level HR roles to Vice President level within a vast array of organisations those who made a personal choice to follow a career within HR will say that it is a definitely a rewarding career that enables you to make a direct contribution to the fulfillment of business objectives and the achievement of a positive working environment for all employees – certainly this a good indicator of a job well done within any organisation!

At present, Collins McNicholas have a number of HR vacancies based in the West, Midlands and Southern region including HR Generalist, HR Business Partner and HR Manager level so if you are looking for a new career opportunity at present you can review some at To see a full list of our open vacancies or to find out more about the services offered by Collins McNicholas visit

Michelle Murphy

Director & Regional Manager

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services