Nancy Shum, acting general manager of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM), says that personnel management today is more than just hiring the right person for the job.
"Human resources (HR) professionals play a crucial role in reducing turnover rate and improving corporate governance. They have to implement strategies of management, such as providing rewards like birthday leave or training to keep staff loyal to the company," Shum says.
Nearly every company, from multi-national corporations to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), requires HR professionals. "With tighter and more complicated employment regulations, companies demand more talent in HRM to ensure the smooth operation of the company. SMEs may not have the resources to employ an HR manager, but they certainly need somebody with knowledge in the field," she says.
HR personnel must be familiar with labour laws and be excellent communicators. "They have to deal with every department and staff of every level, from the grassroots to the top management. They have to like working with people," Shum says.
They need a degree or higher diploma in HRM. Newcomers start off as HR assistants, who are in charge of routine duties such as making interview appointments with candidates. The annual pay is around HK$150,000. With three years of experience, they move up to being HR professionals involved with the screening process of candidates. People with more than five years of experience are in managerial role to implement HR strategies. The
HKIHRM has been maintaining its high standards for HR professionals. It conducts assessment of newcomers to the HR field.
"The three-hour written test is for people who do not come from HRM academic background to demonstrate their knowledge in the field. It is also a good way for graduates to show their ability to potential employers by taking the test. Upon passing the test, they will be awarded associate membership of the institute," Shum says.