A Guide To Human Resource Jobs: Career Overview

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A Guide To Human Resource Jobs: Career Overview

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You may not have considered a career in human resources before, but if you are looking to work in an exciting, useful, and growing field, then it might be the perfect path for you.

Human resource job statistics are promising. The number of jobs in this field is growing at a rate that is faster than the average for all occupations, and the unemployment rate for human resource careers is lower than that of other job categories.

People who work in human resources help people every day and change many lives in the process. The work is varied and interesting and it pays well. If you enjoy meeting new people and working with others, then human resource careers are something you should consider.

You may be wondering, “How can I make my career in HR? What types of jobs are available and what skills and education do I need? Is it hard to get a job in human resources?” Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.

Human Resources: Job and Career Outlook

The human resources field is a large and growing one. There were 5.6 million professionals in the United States working in the human resources field in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade.

In 2018, the BLS projected immense growth in this field; at that time, statisticians estimated that the need for HR managers would grow by 7% by 2028.

The unemployment rate for human resources careers has historically remained around 4.5%. This number is far lower than the majority of other industries and fields. Furthermore, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest professional association in the field, has over 285,000 members.

Clearly, there is a place for human resources professionals in today’s world. It seems that this field will continue to see strong growth for quite some time moving forward. For the right person, it’s a wonderful career to pursue.

A Typical Day in a Human Resources Job

If you are wondering about what a typical day in a human resources job is like, you should know that human resources jobs are so varied that every day will be different. Further, there are many different types of jobs in this field; as a result, there is really no such thing as a typical day in a human resources position.

Most human resources employees spend a portion of their day meeting with their employers and colleagues to identify company or industry wants and needs. They also participate in the recruitment and hiring process. Time is spent reading resumes and cover letters, interviewing applicants, contacting references and doing background checks.

When new employees are selected and hired, a human resources employee will inform these new employees about job details. They will also inform them of benefits and they conduct new employee orientations. Human resources employees also check in with existing employees to see if they need support of any kind. They offer training and education to company staff as well.

Across the board, human resource employees stay up-to-date on employment laws and policies. They make sure leadership at their company is informed of them, too.

Further, human resources employees work as mediators when there are issues between staff members or between management and employees. They direct disciplinary procedures when necessary.

Human Resources Careers: Many Options

A human resource job description will vary based on the company and the position. There are a number of different options available should you choose to pursue a career in this field.

Generalists vs. Specialists

People who work in human resources are either generalists or specialists.

If you are someone who enjoys a great deal of variety in your work, then pursuing a role as a generalist may be perfect for you. Generalists have many responsibilities. They hire and train new employees, help with employee management, and develop personnel policies and procedures. They make sure that all labor laws are followed in their workplace. They also create internal programs to make sure all stay informed of their rights. Generalists stay on top of new developments in their field and apply them to their position in the workplace.

Depending on the size of their company, an HR generalist may end up being the entire human resources department. In larger companies, generalists work together with specialists to provide information and support for both their company’s management and employees.

Specialists, on the other hand, specialize in one aspect of human resources tasks. There are a variety of different specialist roles. Some include training and development, employee and labor relations, risk management, and compensation and benefits. Each of these sub-fields has its own set of pros and cons. However, each one of them is perfect for the right person. For example, if you love teaching others, then training and development might be an excellent choice for you.

Entry Level Jobs

If you are just getting started in the field of human resources, you will be eligible for positions such as a human resources clerk or HR assistant. In either of these positions, you will learn more about the field. You will begin to understand the many roles that human resources employees play in a company, business, or non-profit while you work.

If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree in human resources, you may be able to find an entry-level position in a specialty as well. If you wish to work as a specialist, it’s wise to dive right into that specialty from the very beginning if possible.

Middle-Level Jobs

In time, if you enjoy the field and wish to continue, you can work your way up to managerial positions. One example of a position at this level is a training and development manager. A training and development manager creates, leads, manages, and evaluates training programs for employees in order to boost employee performance.

Top Jobs in Human Resources

The sky is the limit when it comes to jobs in human resources. For those who work hard and work their way up, top-level, executive human resources positions await.

Big companies often have a director of human resources to oversee large-scale human resources departments. Men and women in this role supervise generalists and specialists and work with management to develop programs for employees. They create staffing plans for the present and future. A director of human resources is a generalist at the executive level. People in this role have proven their ability to balance many different things and regularly get results that are more than satisfactory.

The role of chief human resources officer (CHRO) is similar. Individuals in this position oversee all human resources managers and bring their skills together to benefit the company overall. They work closely with other company executives to support the company’s business plan and to meet goals through employee management.

Another executive role within the human resources field is director of talent acquisition. Every company wants to hire the best possible employees to fill openings. In highly specialized companies or industries, finding the perfect person for an open position can be a full-time job within itself. A director of talent acquisition oversees the job search and hiring process. He or she makes ure that the most qualified people that best match specific job descriptions are located and hired.

Pros and Cons of Working in Human Resources

A human resources career isn’t right for everyone, but it feels like a perfect fit for many. However, as with all jobs, there are pros and cons to a career in this field.

Advantages of the Human Resources Field

Work in this field can be deeply satisfying, and many people who work in human resources report very high levels of job satisfaction in surveys.

A 2014 study by The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 86% of human resources professionals were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current jobs. 83% felt the same about their current company.

One of the reasons that many cited for their favorable response was the fact that in human resources, they have the opportunity to work on different projects using a variety of skills. Human resources are never boring and monotonous. Everyone enjoys being able to apply the many different skills that they possess. As a human resources professional, you will have the opportunity to face and work to overcome new challenges on a daily basis.

Human resources careers pay well, too. Average salaries for positions like HR specialists, training and development specialists, compensation and benefits specialists and labor relations specialists are all over $60,000 per year. Higher-level managerial positions such as HR manager, training and development manager, and compensation and benefits manager can all easily reach the lower six-figures.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of working in human resources, however, is knowing that you are helping people and your company to succeed. As a human resources professional, you will have a direct impact on your company’s well-being. You will also be connecting the people you meet with the right jobs along the way.

Challenges of Working in Human Resources Careers

As with any job or career, there are also a number of challenges you will face in a human resources career.

Human resources jobs are not easy. In fact, many find the demands of jobs in this field to be intense, and the workloads are often quite large. Human resources professionals work with many different people in a wide variety of capacities. It can be challenging to balance everything. Furthermore, there is no instruction book for jobs in human resources. Professionals are required to figure out things on their own along the way.

Further, human resources professionals often have to make difficult and unpopular decisions. It can be challenging to work around or within office politics, and people who work in human resources are expected to be objective when working as a mediator and when working with employees at all levels. It is impossible to make everyone happy all of the time, and human resources professionals know this quite well.

How to Prepare for a Career in HR

If working in the human resources field interests you, there are several paths you can take toward landing a job. In addition to possessing a love of people, you will also need to learn a number of different skills. You will need to develop numerous strengths for ultimate success.

Degrees in Human Resources

Many colleges offer associate’s, bachelor’s, and even master’s degrees in human resource management. If you are sure that human resources is right for you, this is the best path for you to take. Courses will cover topics relevant to the field including labor management, employment law, training and development and more. In order to be the most competitive candidate possible for jobs in this field, a human resources degree is an excellent idea.

There are also other non-human resource degrees that will help you break into this field. Undergraduate or graduate degrees in business management, workforce development, marketing, public relations, finance, leadership or communications can all be applied to jobs in human resources as well.

Human Resources Certifications

A human resources certification can also be a big help if you are seeking a job in this field. However, they can really help to enhance your resume and will help make it stand out. There are a number of different organizations that train people and offer these certifications. Also, there are several different certification levels to pursue.

You will likely find that certification in human resources is well worth your time and effort. According to research, human resources professionals with certifications make more money than their peers without one.

Degree-Free Human Resources Jobs

Is it possible to land a career in human resources without a degree or certification? The short answer is yes, but you may have a harder time finding a job and working your way up the ladder. If you don’t want to get a degree, you can get your foot in the door by getting some on-the-job experience by working as an intern or assistant. You can also try networking with others in the field and take some relevant courses and training.

Applying for Human Resource Careers

Finding a job in human resources can be challenging. Although much job growth is predicted in this field in the coming years, there are usually only a few human resources positions available at any one company at a time. As a result, many qualified people apply for these jobs and there is a lot of competition.

Another reason landing a human resource job can be difficult is because a human resource professional is the person hiring you. As you might imagine, expectations for individuals in their own field can be very high.

Is a Career in Human Resources Right for You?

As you can see, human resource careers offer so many different options and they can provide a lifetime of job satisfaction for people with the right skills and attitude. The current human resources job statistics are promising and a career in HR can work for you for the rest of your life. There are many ways to break into this field and many different ways to succeed.

If you have any questions about human resources as a career, please contact us today. At Scion Staffing, we match candidates with positions in a number of different fields and industries throughout the United States and we would love to help you, too. We can’t wait to hear from you.