Human Resources (HR) professionals can come from a wide range of backgrounds, though many now are expected to have degrees in human resource management.

Due to the rapid changes within the business world, the role of an HR professional has had to change to meet it.

Many senior HR professionals are now involved in making strategic decisions for a company and focus on HR’s contributions to the bottom-line.

An HR professional will have many duties but their first priority is the workforce.

They are often tasked with sourcing talent and creating workforce policies including performance management reviews and training.

HR professionals can work across a number of sectors, but they tend to find jobs in larger organisations where there is a large workforce.

Smaller company’s who are implementing HR policies might outsource this work to an HR consultant, rather than hiring someone full-time.

Career Profile: Human Resources Professional

Education & Training

In the past, people found it easier to move into an HR position from many different backgrounds. However, due to increasing competition and the technical aspects of the role, it is now preferred that hires have a degree in Human Resources.

In these degrees, students focus on subjects such as working in teams, intervention strategies, instructional design, and career guidance.

As training and policy making is such a large part of this position, the HR professional will need to keep up to date with the latest training methods, health and safety laws, employment laws etc. by taking continual courses.

If you are interested in a career in Human Resources, these courses provide insight about the role and what you can expect.

Duties

Your duties as an HR professional will vary depending on the level that you’re working at. Common duties will include:

  • Work with various people to understand and implement policies and procedures.
  • Promoting equality and diversity
  • Create a positive company culture.
  • Oversee policy areas such as staff performance and health and safety;
  • Recruit staff – create job descriptions and arrange initial job orientation and continual development.
  • Create policies for working conditions, performance management, equal opportunities, disciplinary procedures and absence management.
  • Create staff handbooks.
  • Point of contact for pay and remuneration issues, including promotion and benefits.
  • Negotiating with staff and their trade union officials on issues relating to pay and conditions.
  • Advise on employment law.
  • Deal with grievances and implement disciplinary procedures.
  • Plan strategies including long-term staff requirements.

Career Paths

HR professionals usually gain experience in an internship before joining a company in an entry-level position. This is usually as an HR administrator. They can then progress to HR officer, HR Manager, HR Director etc. The titles will vary among companies however this is a clear path of seniority.

Human resource managers generally need at least a year of experience working in a human resource specialist position etc. and they will keep bulding on their experience.

With each level comes higher responsibilities and HR professionals can find themselves travelling to different locations within a company. They’ll eventually coordinate all HR professionals underneath them, ensuring that all policies are implemented and carried out correctly.

Human Resource positions are set to grow by 13% during the period of 2012 – 2022 according to the BLS. This is steady growth and spread across all levels.

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