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Bell Pottinger North - Client News
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Over 50 per cent of senior/Board level HR professionals believe that it was operational experience and business exposure rather than academic or professional qualifications that helped them progress their careers. What’s more, 80 per cent would not consider studying for further qualifications.

These were the findings from a survey conducted by Strategi Search & Selection targeting senior HR professionals and directors. The survey was designed to ascertain whether there was a link between professional/academic qualifications and successful careers for high fliers within the HR Industry, and what experiences had assisted them in developing their careers. It also sought to discover what other factors helped these individuals perform so strongly and what makes a successful HR professional.

Bachelors degrees were held by over a third of the respondents (37 per cent), with Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) qualifications held by 23 per cent and postgraduate qualifications held by 12 per cent.

Sharon Mullen, operations director at Strategi commented: “Whilst it is encouraging to see that most people believe in the strength of qualifications, it was surprising that less than a quarter of respondents held a CIPD qualification.

“However, nearly half (42 per cent) stated that they felt that qualifications had only really helped them with progression early on in their career. This is further reinforced by the fact that over 80 per cent of respondents did not plan to embark on any further qualifications in the future.”

The survey also sought to establish what experience had helped respondents the most in their career. Over half of the respondents (52 per cent) cited that increased operational exposure/business responsibility across the organisation and hands-on experience of more commercial issues, had been of most benefit.

Sharon continued: “It is continually clear that a high level of exposure across the business is a key factor in providing HR professionals with the knowledge to lead and direct businesses. This is further endorsed by the fact that 81 per cent of respondents stated that they have had, or would value, experience across wider business areas, outside of HR. The view that qualifications are of most use early on in a career is echoed here with only six per cent stating that graduate or academic programmes assisted them most.”

Finally, the survey questioned respondents on what they believed personified a successful HR professional and which skills/competencies had helped them progress in their career. Of the wide variety of responses, the need to be strategic (in terms of thinking and viewpoint) and the need to possess a keen business acumen topped the list.

Joanne Sellwood, managing director, concluded: “This survey returned some unsurprising, yet interesting results. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of HR professionals have academic qualifications, though the majority only really use them when setting out on their career or progressing up the early rungs of the career ladder. More commercial skills and experience are cited as the major contributing factors throughout their career.  As a specialist in HR search and selection, one of the key factors our clients look for when hiring an individual is their breadth of commercial awareness and their ability to deliver business objectives through HR initiatives.

“From these results, I believe that there is a real need for organisations to offer greater exposure for their HR teams to different parts of the business. This is resonated by three quarters of respondents who stated that experience across the wider business areas is essential.

“Learning is a continual process; it doesn’t just stop when you finish education. The key to developing a successful HR career is to expose yourself to as many areas of the business as you can. This will ensure you are able to fully understand your business and be able to clearly align the relevant HR initiatives to meet commercial objectives. The ability to do this can make a real difference to the organisation’s commercial success and ultimately increase your personal credibility.”


Press contact:  Vicki Baxter or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North (01625) 506444 vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> or ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>

Notes to editor:
Strategi Search & Selection
Part of the Strategi Group, Strategi Search & Selection specialise purely within middle, senior management and board level HR appointments, both interim and permanent. Our approach is based on integrity, flexibility, quality of service and professionalism, and these values lie at the heart of every solution we provide. Established in 2000 in Manchester, the company is now one of the UK’s leading HR recruitment specialists. We now have over 30 years’ combined experience with extensive, well-developed networks and resources covering the UK and internationally. We have offices in Exchange Quay, Manchester and also in Berkeley Square, London. For more information see our website: www.strategi-group.com <http://www.strategi-group.com>.


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