Nearly half of HR practitioners are operating without a licenceThursday January 19 2023
Nearly half of the human resource practitioners in Kenya are operating without a licence, putting the institutions they represent at a disadvantage in legal disputes.
Data from the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM), the regulator of the profession, estimates only 17,000 of the over 30,000 HR professionals operating in the country are certified to practice the trade.
The law requires that HR professionals get a practising certificate as an indication that they have attained the necessary skills in a bid to weed out quacks.
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“In Kenya, we have about 30,000 HR practitioners, but only 17,000 are registered with the institute,” said Queresha Abdullahi, the executive director of IHRM.
She explains that decisions made by uncertified HR practitioners may not hold in the event a matter concerning the firms they represent escalates to court.
“If the practitioner is not licensed to operate, it puts the organization at a disadvantage because an argument –based on the decisions they made-- will not stand in court,” she said during the release of exam results for HR trainees on Wednesday.
Recent changes in law compel all human resource professionals to apply for a practising certificate after going back to school to attain the necessary knowledge, skills and experience.
The law set up the Human Resource Management Professionals Examinations Board (HRMPEB) as the examination board for developing professional qualifications dubbed the Certified Human Resource Professional achieved in three levels.
HR professionals are categorised into associates — those that are just starting—and members — those that have five years of experience and above.
“A practising certificate is mandatory for any HR profession making decisions within an organisation,” Ms Abdullahi said.
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Kenya National Qualifications Authority(KNQA) acting Director General Alice Kande noted the agency has been working with HR bodies in developing the curriculum and management of examinations.
In November/December 2022, HRMPEB administered CHRP examinations in various examination centres to 1,309 candidates, in a test that was dominated by females (1,038).
The Law came at a time when the country was experiencing a sharp increase in industrial unrest, an indication of a disconnect between employers and employees; a function of human resource management.
This comes at a time when a growing number of companies are recording a spike in labour disputes that are spilling into courts as employees seek to fight for better working conditions, unfair dismissal and human rights violations.