How much value do companies place on HR experience in a specific industry? My thought is that HR is HR wherever you go, and it shouldn’t be difficult to switch industries (e.g. manufacturing to financial services), mid- to late-career. But what has been your experience?

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I disagree. If you’re on the HR Business Partner track it’s very important to understand the business you’re supporting and what motivates the talent in that business. With that said, I haven’t stayed in just 1 industry but every company I’ve worked for has been within a creative/marketing/publishing type company. Easily transferable. I would struggle moving into (or enjoying) doing talent work within financial services. If you’re more on the HR operations side then yes- HR is HR

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Industry is important in a sense of regulations. Eg. manufacturing means supporting seasonal workers, dealing with unions; financial industry has tons of regulations around pay and bonuses; Pharma and biotech have lots of safety regulations...

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Agree with the first comment - it depends on what HR track you’re targeting. There are fundamental technical skills for each role so it really depends. You can manage an HRIS or payroll system in any industry. But it’s important to know market knowledge and insight into the business if you’re bringing the talent in or building business strategies.

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Its transferrable but most leaders do not have the time to train their staff to become up to speed. They would rather someone who has some experience in the industry.

I agree with Talent Director 1. I had an ex-colleague who came from a different industry (more slow paced, medium sized company) into a large tech company and ended up leaving in less than a year. The sudden change to a larger workload, more high-paced work, and need for them to learn the business on top of developing policy knowledge and learning new best practices was not a good fit for their work style. There was a steep learning curve and urgent demand for them to pick up new skills quickly that they just didn’t have foundational knowledge to build off. They had a very difficult time adjusting and ultimately went back to their old company. I think that industry experience and knowing the business you are supporting helps a LOT to flatten the learning curve as you are better prepared in knowing what to expect and your past skills are more easily transferrable.

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