A career in HR is a common choice among young professionals planning to enter the workforce these days. HR professionals are at the frontlines of the business, and their work makes them interact with all departments of an organization, pushing its importance even higher.
How are the jobs in HR growing?
The sector remains popular. Jobs for HR managers, one of the categories of HR leaders, seems to grow by 6 percent during 2019-2029 (number of openings in 2019 = 165,200) according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What responsibilities are handled by HR managers?
The main task of an HR manager is to ensure that all employee needs are duly met. This involves responsibilities such as recruitment, compensation and benefits, employee records, mediation between employees and senior management, and labor relations. These are required in all industries and sectors – communications, health, investment, transportation, education, and others. The aim is to create a healthy, positive workplace or work environment by:
- Bringing in the best candidates for jobs
- Offering the most attractive and feasible compensation and benefits plans
- Upholding employee dignity
- Communicating employee concerns to the upper management
The careers of HR leaders and other HR professionals involve the creation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of plans, policies, and strategies for human resource management in accordance with the requirements of the business. HR managers also share best practices of recruitment and selection as well as induction, training, and development with other managers.
HR professionals are the contact points for employee rights and legal aspects of workforce management. On a typical day, they could be working on several projects, handling queries on workplace safety, engaged in discussions with stakeholders, making presentations, and being part of more than one meeting!
What does the workplace look like for an HR manager?
The majority of HR managers are engaged in full-time jobs – 87 percent of the total, which is substantially higher than the all-job average of 66 percent. In this capacity, they spend an average of 46 hours a week at work, compared to the all-job average of 44 hours.
In terms of age profile, the average age is 44 years, while for all jobs it stands at a younger 40 years. Here is the breakup of the HR workforce by age group:
- 25-34 years: 18.5 percent
- 35-44 years: 32.8 percent
- 45-54 years: 29.5 percent
- Above 60 years: 5 percent
How are the salaries for HR managers?
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for HR managers is USD 121,220. As compared to this, the average salary for all professions taken together is estimated to be just about 60 percent of this figure.
What skills does an HR manager need?
HR managers are critical components of the overall organizational machinery. The majority of employers believe candidates for HR jobs would have longer employment durations if they have a clearer picture of the skills required and what else to expect on the job. All the same, the HR workforce is likely to see strong overall growth.
To discharge their job responsibilities effectively, here are some of the key skills for HR managers:
- Health insurance policies
- Other workplace policies
- Recruitment strategies
- Personnel management
- Privacy and discretion
- Exit policies and procedures
- Clear communication
- Empathy and sympathy
What education and qualifications does an HR manager require?
The typical HR job requires a minimum of an undergraduate degree in human resource management or related disciplines. Higher roles often call for advanced degrees such as graduate degrees or doctorates.
Along with these typical qualifications, HR certifications have recently gained importance and popularity. Still not compulsory, they are rapidly gaining ground and it is not uncommon to see job descriptions mentioning a preference for a candidate with a certification in HR. A certification testifies to the candidate possessing the latest skills and knowhow in the HR field, and being ready to take on higher responsibilities and challenging roles.
Which steps should an aspiring HR manager take to launch a career?
Here are the steps to take in order to begin a career as an HR manager:
- Complete high school: Take courses in business, economics, psychology, professional and technical communications, and other relevant aspects. Earning college credits before enrolling in a university degree is well advised.
- Earn an undergraduate degree: Complete an undergraduate degree in HRM or related disciplines.
- Land an internship: With 96 percent of HR professionals agreeing on the criticality of their internships, it is clear how valuable internships are in giving real-world experience.
- Get work experience: Typically, at least two years of work experience along with knowledge-building initiatives such as seminars or training.
- Earn a graduate degree or a doctorate: This is typically a requirement for higher roles.
Take up an HR certification: This demonstrates an interest in staying up to pace with current industry requirements.