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The HR career journey - from a different starting line

Hello fellow HR community members.

I have just started the HRM level 5 diploma and could really do with some career advice about when and how to move into a full time HR role. I have read many posts on these forums about how hard it is to break into the HR industry, but that will not phase me.

I am currently in hospitality (hotels, restaurants and pubs) management, which deals with an array of different HR and L&D items on a daily basis. I have 15 years of experience in management which includes hospitality and retail. I have also had some self employed experience.

Currently I work around 55 to 60hrs a week, study 15hrs a week and I am a father in between that, so I do not have much time for voluntary work. My current employer is a small business, which does not have an dedicated HR department, so there is no direct on the job experience I can gain.

Putting my personal details out there, I can confirm my financial requirements are £30k+ but I am willing to take a small cut to that for a temporary basis to achieve my goal to become an HR professional.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly received.

Thank you in advance.

  • David

    Welcome to the site and the profession

    I won't repeat all the advice you will have seen from those previous threads you have read. You will have got the picture about the challenges.

    The biggest one you will undoubtedly face is lack of experience - whilst you have some great supervisory / management experience in dealing with people this probably wont get you very far into HR jobs. Sadly I fear you may well have to take a bigger pay cut than you imagine and start lower down the food chain than you would hope. There is sadly no magic bullet I can offer.

    I do wish you the best of luck
  • I'm glad you're not phased, David, and welcome to the forums, but I must echo Keith's advice:

    You should expect to take a cut to the region of £18-21k to move into an entry-level HR role. But on the plus side, you would be working more like 35-40 hours per week in such a role, so proportionately, you'll be doing OK...
  • Dear David,


    I have done the move into HR only 1,5 years ago and I can only agree with what was said before. Getting that first job was difficult and there definitely was a more significant pay cut. You will also start on a entry level usually which can be challenging if you were a manager before. Just be aware of this.

    I would apply for positions as soon as possible and try to get your foot in the door. Having a qualification but no experience, in my experience, is not really helpful. Others might have different experience in this than me though.
  • HI David
    I moved from Hospitality Management into HR and you will find that you have a lot of transferable skills. Its usually only the larger pub and hotel chains that have dedicated HR teams so its usual that all HR stuff falls to the manager / supervisor on duty. Make sure that you detail all in your CV. Why not start to introduce HR systems (they probably are in place just not formalised) and you can add this to your CV too. Remember its the CV that will get you the interview so you want to stand out.
    It took me a year to get a job in HR and my first job was with a SME who didn't have any HR and were looking someone to come in as an administrator. Basically it was set up an HR department. I took a big salary dip (over £11,000) but I was determined to do it as I was really serious about moving. I spent 3 years there and I learnt so much.
    If you are really serious you will have to accept that you will be looking at a lot less than £30,000 for a few years.
    Good luck
  • Hi David,

    As you are working in an SME with no HR presence - can you try to take on the HR role and gain experience that way. I did this (worked in a small company and wore a large number of hats!) to start gaining experience, which then enabled me to get an HR Admin role at a large company, where I got fantastic experience and it launched my HR career. At this point, I did take a hefty wage cut. It took me 3.5 years to regain my previous salary level. Unfortunately employers are only interested in the market rate for the role, not how much money someone 'requires'. Entry level HR jobs won't pay anything near the salary of a hospitality manager, so you need to be realistic about whether you can afford to do this at the moment. Without experience, you won't jump into an HR Manager role even with your Level 5.
  • Hi, I have also made the move from a people and practice management role by way of a CIPD accredited degree. I was advised by my lecturer to take a placement year (which with 20+ years of work experience I didn't think I needed), as although in senior positions and undertaking most of the components required ie recruitment, onboarding, induction design etc, none of it was with a specific HR job title. I am now in my placement year (which is essentially a 12 month FTC) Admin role. I had so many difficulties securing this position due to lack of experience. I started as an HR Administrator on minimum wage and realised it could be a long journey to equal the senior role I once had. I was lucky enough to move into a better role quickly but salary is still a £12k drop. The hardest part for me was starting over and being the person who didnt have all the answers. My first few months were an adjustment and sometimes uncomfortable with being at such a junior level. However over time I realised there was so much I didn't know but thought I did. I have absorbed so much knowledge from my colleagues and now am relieved to be on this gentle sloping path. I have another 7 months before returning to study in my final year and I hope that this year will help me secure an advisory role upon graduation (although very much aware it may still be at Admin level). Good luck! I kni