What positions are usually held at a head office?
Details about head offices – or, in American terminology, Headquarters (HQ) – are difficult to come by, simply by the very nature of them being core to how a company runs. The roles held at any HQ vary largely dependent upon the size of the company and the industry in which they work. Generally, however, there are a few roles that are always held at a head office – trying to find one of these vacancies or fill one of these positions can be another matter entirely, however.
Senior roles such as Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Managing Director (CEO), General Manager
Roles in the upper echelons are rarely advertised, and these posts are generally either headhunted from posts at competitors or given to those inside the company with a proven track record. These are the highest paid employees, and are the people who generally shape the direction of the company using information provided to them by subordinates.
Though smaller companies may use third party companies for their human resources, the largest companies will have their own HR department – sometimes with workforces numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands. Their job is to ensure the company is employing the highest quality of staff available within their budget, so procurement is a major part of their role (especially if the business has a high turnover of staff, is expanding or simply has a vast number of roles worldwide). The largest companies will have regional staff responsible for their own HR too – though it is generally the branch at headquarters that will devise the pay scales, disciplinary procedures and benefits packages that affect the entire running of the organisation.
Getting a job in HR is increasingly difficult, with even smaller companies requiring qualifications in Human Resources for roles that would not necessarily require such level of skill. Of course, with the worldwide economy in the state that it is in – and with outsourcing of HR more common than it used to be – companies can afford to be a little pickier than they used to be.
The foundation upon which all business is run, accounting lets a company know how much profit or loss they are making, and provides the framework from which the company has to build. Smaller businesses more often than not simply use an accountancy firm to deal with their accounting – but for larger operations, having a dedicated staff is a must. Getting a job in accounting often requires a qualification, but there are some businesses that will allow you to train and the job – and some will even pay for that training on certain provisos.
Though call centres were the first to go, Payroll is the new sector that is facing companies outsourcing them. However, due to privacy issues that may arise, multinational corporations like to keep such issues in house, and will have a department – again, usually at head office, though not always necessarily there – that deal with Payroll.
Heavily linked to accounting, it is this side of the business that employees are most bothered about, as Payroll’s job is to ensure that staff are paid correctly and in a timely manner. Whereas much of the work was done by hand in past generations, today much of the hard work is done by computers and the physical acts of inputting data (bank details and national insurance number) and sending out the pay slips themselves are what the Payroll department deal with – as well as rectifying any errors and dealing with queries from staff about tax.
More important than ever, a good IT department is crucial for the smooth running of any company. Structure varies depending on the type of company – those with large regional departments will likely only have a small number of IT staff at HQ to deal with day to day queries, and many have simply outsourced all their IT requirements to third party companies – but IT provides the infrastructure from which all employees and pretty much any business work.
The title changes from company to company, but Insight Analysis is an important part of any business. Often based at head office due to the extent to which it can and does shape the direction of any business over both short and long term. Though there are agencies that may also be used to help try and predict what the consumer will want in the future, the sensitive nature of much of the data used in Insight Analysis makes it easier for corporations to keep the operation at their HQ base. The end result of any analytics department is to try and monetise any assets to their maximum potential – and a university degree is an absolute must for anyone looking to get into an Insight Analysis job.
Personal Assistant (or Secretary)
An important role, though sometimes undervalued by a company. The highest ranking employees time is at a premium, so having a Personal Assistant who can deal with clients in a friendly, efficient manner (without offending them if they don’t get to speak to or have some face time with the person they’re trying to contact) is crucial. Increasingly, companies are reliant on potential staff having relevant secretarial qualification in order to get the role – but this is usually outweighed by strong work experience, good phone manner and excellent organisational skills.
General Administration Roles
The legs of the company, necessary to make sure that those in high paying roles don’t spend their time filling in paperwork and instead focus on what they’re being paid to do. This can range from filing, through to working sorting out post. Most head offices will also have their own canteen, in order to cater meetings and provide hot food for staff, too. However, it is the low paying office jobs that offer the best opportunities to move up in a company. Due to the proliferation of internships in modern business, roles are often unadvertised and are simply given to an intern who happens to be there at the right place in the right time, or they simply outsource these roles to recruitment agencies – through which the employment rights and strain on Human Resources is much less.