Career Research Assignment: Investigating HR Profession as a Career Option
Prepare a career research assignmentreport demonstrating an awareness of the knowledge, skills and experience required by a recent graduate to enter a chosen area of graduate employment. The research required to prepare the report will support you in your future career planning and decisions. This report will provide the basis of the information for your self-reflection and career action plan report.
• You are required to identity an area of graduate employment that you would consider for when you leave university. This could be EITHER a profession (for example marketing/Finance/Accounting/HR) OR an industry you are interested in (for example retail, sports & leisure, public sector, not-for-profit, travel and tourism.) Your research should be either in an area you aspire to work within or maybe an area that you want to understand more about.
- Your research in your chosen profession/industry should include likely future trends in graduate recruitment, and should equip you with the knowledge to write a summary of the key skills, knowledge and experience expected from graduate applicants.
- You are encouraged to use both primary and secondary research for this assignment. Primary research might include attending events run by the careers team, and/or events run by the professional bodies, or else through personal contacts. It might also include information from the guest lecturers for the module. You could consider talking to managers at work, if you have a parttime role, or else friends and family to enhance your understanding. Include in the appendix a log detailing who you contacted for primary research.
- Having identified the profession/industry, you are then required to identify one current job being advertised that you would be interested in applying for in the future. This will form the basis of the second assignment. The advert should appear as an appendix, which you should refer to as necessary within your report. It is important that this is a graduate level job, and not one for an individual with many years’ experience.
Developing skills, knowledge and expertise is of utmost importance in today’s competitive professional world. I think that analysing my strengths and weaknesses is essential for me to make necessary improvements that will further enhance my personal and professional development.
The purpose of the report here is to undertake career research within the HR profession for my future. In this regard, I have first identified the general trends impacting the human resource industry and I have also identified the key skills, knowledge and experience required for building my career in this profession. In addition, I have analysed my own skills for determining the strengths and weaknesses based on the findings.
Data has been collected from both primary and secondary research in this report. Primary research involved various sources such as Networking with HR professionals through LinkedIn, Membership at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), attending lectures of the Guests at University, Job Fairs and Job Advertisement. The secondary data has been collected from Internet sources, journals and articles, published documents of companies, research conducted by other institutions and others. These data have been further used for completing the report.
Heading 1: General trends which will impact on my chosen profession/industry
The information for identifying general trends in the HR industry has been gathered from different secondary sources such as newspaper articles, journals, documents and other Internet resources. Besides, data has also been gathered from primary research by participating in different events like guest lectures, job fairs, networking and others. From the Gartner research, various key trends for the HR leaders have been identified. These trends are results from various factors including the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020(Gartner, 2021). The forefront of key initiatives includes employee well-being, new workforce models and social justice. It is expected that employers will have to shift their focus from managing the employee experience towards managing their entire life experience through proper support.
Fig 1: Employer support of life experience
(Source: Gartner, 2021)
Companies are expected to focus more on societal and political issues for retaining and attracting the best talent (Gartner, 2021). Furthermore, the gender-wage gap is further increasing with return of employees to the workplace and new regulations are expected to reduce employee monitoring (Gartner, 2021). In addition, more flexibility is shifting towards time, companies are emphasizing on employees’ mental health and managers are hiring rental talent for filling skills gap.
Alongside these expected trends, some of the current trends have already been observed in this industry because of the sudden changes brought by the pandemic. Companies are now prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives that help in benefitting the businesses during uncertain times (Schooley, 2020). The HR departments are now inclining towards technology for automating various processes in services like recruiting and onboarding of employees. Teams are also adapting themselves to the increasing possibility and continuity of long-term remote working. HR managers are now maintaining the company culture and employee engagement virtually for ensuring they remain motivated towards the work (Schooley, 2020). They are also modifying various employee benefits, leaves and vaccination requirements for the employees in this uncertain environment. In this regard, it has also been observed from the various events that employee physical and mental wellbeing are receiving utmost limelight in this HR profession (Appendix 1). Along with this, HR managers are now focusing more on employee engagement and motivation for ensuring organizational success. Moreover, the HR industry is changing with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). AI alongside human intelligence has been enhancing candidate experience during talent acquisition. It has been taking over various routine tasks, thereby making human skills to be developed in the HR professionals (Meister, 2019). The technology is enabling workers to perform their jobs better by re-imagining candidate and employee experience. In addition, AI ready workforce will also be essential in the near future of the organizations for responding to various problems.
Heading 2: The skills / knowledge and experience required(about 200 words)
Various key skills and knowledge or expertise have been identified as important for the HR profession. These have been identified from both the primary and secondary research undertaken for completing this report. In this regard, the three key personal skills required for succeeding in HR profession are communication, leadership and adaptability. Communication skills are essential for professionals in this industry as it is a people-focused function (Mason, 2020). The professionals are required to be expert communicators for managing the organizational workforce, resolving conflicts, upholding company standards and clearly portraying the company values and mission to the employees (Appendix 2). The HR professionals also negotiate between various organizational members that require excellent communication skills. Alongside this, active listening skills are also important for effective communication with the employees (Forbes, 2021). The professionals need to listen to them for having a clear conversation. Furthermore, leadership skills are another significant requirement for the HR profession (Appendix 1). With effective leadership abilities, these HR managers can take accountability and responsibility for their work, guide the employees towards the company’s goals and values and resolve any conflicts or issues present in the organization (Ghauriand Ayub, 2018). Here, leading with empathy is of utmost importance by understanding the experience, perspectives and feelings of the employees. This also helps them to cultivate trusting and meaningful relationships with the employees through proper interactions, which is an essential leadership quality (Forbes, 2021). The third important personal skill for HR professionals is being adaptable. This skill helps them in adjusting to unpredictable circumstances and respond effectively to rapid changes taking place in the business environment (Appendix 1, Appendix 2). Adaptability also enables the managers and professionals in this industry for managing change because of the shifting business strategies and priorities (Mason, 2020).Thus, these are the three skills essential in this industry. Two essential knowledge or expertise that HR professionals require in today’s business world are performance management and Human Resources Information System (HRIS). HRIS is the intersection between information technology and human resources with the help of HR software (Gupta 2013). Information associated with hiring, recruitment, evaluation, performance, payroll, employee benefits, rewards, absenteeism and others are registered with the help of this software. The professionals need to possess the knowledge and technical expertise of using this HRIS for acquiring, understanding and interpreting the data (Gupta 2013). With this knowledge, the HR professionals are able to perform the activities and processes efficiently by saving time and reducing the workload.Performance management is another corporate management tool that HR professionals need to know for monitoring and evaluating performance of the employees (Bititci, Cocca& Ates 2016). With this knowledge, the professionals can make sure to establish an environment so that employees can perform to the best of their abilities and enhance their performance in the organization. In addition, the knowledge of this tool is essential for the HR managers in setting goals for employees, improving their capacity to perform and rating their performance.
Heading 1: Identified vacancy from HR profession/industry
I found out the job advertisement of Human Resources Graduate of Qinetiq, which is one of the early career programmes offered in the company. The company is a research and development platform with more than 6000 dedicated professionals providing experimentation facilities and expertise in various areas of technical, engineering and science (Appendix 2).
Heading 2: Why this job role is of interest to me
One of the primary reasons for joining this company is that I will gain the opportunity of working with teams from various backgrounds, experiences and expertise who have different perspectives on matters. The second factor that generated my interest in applying for the job is that it will provide me with a wide variety of strategic and operational experience in the HR department.
Heading 3: Relation to my potential choice of industry/profession
Here, I will acquire the chance of carrying out various tasks including HR solutions and services to managers and seniors in the areas of performance management, learning and development, resourcing and talent and reward. The third reason for applying in this job role is that I will be able to gain real-life experiences through the challenges and further use my theoretical knowledge to perform the tasks.
Heading 4: Personal suitability for this position
This job will provide me with the opportunity of enhancing my knowledge and expertise in different areas like performance management, talent and rewards, learning and development, resourcing and others that are essential in the HR industry. Besides, I will also be able to improve my communication, organizational, team working and problem-solving skills while working with professionals from different fields and expertise possessing different perspectives. These skills and knowledge will be beneficial for me to enhance my employability further in the HR industry.
Heading 5: New/emerging job role within this profession/industry
I prefer this job over other ones in various MNCs because I will gain the chance of gaining knowledge from the professionals while working closely with them. The less number of employees will also be beneficial for me to develop interpersonal relationships with them and gain networking that will help me in the future career. In addition, this role will also prepare me for the emerging new trends in the HR profession, thereby enabling me to become a more successful manager.
The report aimed at carrying out career research in the field of human resources. It focused on identifying the general trends in this profession alongside determining the skills, expertise and knowledge essential for HR professionals in this business environment.
In this report, I conducted both secondary and primary research for gaining the necessary information. While the secondary information was gathered from published documents, articles, journals and Internet sources, the primary data was acquired from the events in which I participated. In addition, I also evaluated my own skills based on the job advertisement of Qineteq.
Bititci, U, Cocca, P & Ates, A 2016, Impact of visual performance management systems on the performance management practices of organisations’,International Journal of Production Research, vol.54, no.6, pp.1571-1593.
Forbes, 2021. 15 HR Skills Every Professional Can Benefit From Learning. [online] Available at:
Gartner, 2021. 9 Work Trends That HR Leaders Can’t Ignore in 2021. [online] Available at:
Ghauri, S. and Ayub, N., 2018. HR Professionals’ Preferred Skill for Business Graduates in Service Sector. Pakistan Business Review, 20(1), pp.209-221.
Gupta, B 2013,‘Human resource information system (HRIS): important element of current scenario’,career research assignmentIOSR Journal of Business and Management, vol.13, no.6, pp.41-46.
Mason, H., 2020. What soft skills are required to work in HR[online] PM Jobs CIPD. Available at:
Meister, J., 2019. Ten HR trends in the age of artificial intelligence. Forbes. Retrieved, 20.
Schooley, 2020. 10 Ways Human Resources Will Change in 2021. [online] Business News Daily. Available at:
Appendix 1: Log of Events in which I participated
Networking with HR professionals through LinkedIn
Everyday for one to two hours over the platform
Connecting with professionals, following their posts, commenting on them, messaging for gaining information, watching their interviews and reading stories.
Gaining professional insights and making connections.
Membership at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
Membership for more than one year
Exploring the range of theoretical information, podcasts, courses, apprenticeships and internships or trainings
Getting enrolled for courses to develop professional knowledge
Attending lectures of the Guests at University
Acquiring information about job prospects and opportunities in the HR industry
Determining skills and expertise that I need to develop for my employability
Gaining information about the various companies and job roles in HR profession
Achieving knowledge about the different roles that I can apply to in the future
Appendix 2: Job Advertisement