Human resources (HR) officers or managers are responsible for the effective employment of people in an organisation. They recruit, train and develop staff and make sure they are treated fairly and legally. They are sometimes called HR advisors, or personnel officers or managers.
You could be:
recruiting staff, which involves writing job adverts, job descriptions and person specifications
reading job application emails, forms and letters, drawing up a short list, inviting candidates for interview and interviewing them
preparing staff handbooks and induction materials
introducing new staff to their duties and arranging training
working with managers and trade unions to agree pay and conditions and doing regular salary reviews
making sure equal opportunity policies are followed and dealing with discrimination
arranging services such as welfare and counselling for employees
dealing with disciplinary or grievance issues, such as bullying, alcoholism, absenteeism or chronic ill-health
advising on redundancy and employment law and helping decide which staff could lose their jobs if redundancies are needed.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for graduate human resource officers or managers are usually in the range £20,000 to £30,000 a year. The average salary for a new graduate is around £24,000 a year. With experience this could rise to between £35,000 and £45,000 a year. The salary for senior positions can be around £60,000 a year, or more.
You would be based in an office.
You would visit other departments, to speak to staff and managers. In large organisations, you would have to travel to other branches.
You would work normal office hours, 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
You might sometimes have to work late or at the weekends.
You would sometimes have to work under pressure.
You would sometimes have to make difficult and unpopular decisions.
Most entrants have a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a degree.
The HND or degree can be in any subject, but qualifications in human resource management, business studies, law, management and psychology are particularly relevant.
Entry requirements for an HND are 1-2 Highers, and for a degree, 4-5 Highers.
You could also take a postgraduate course in human resource management or related subject or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
You might be able to move into human resources management after following a general management trainee programme for graduates.
If you don't have an HND or degree, you might be able to work your way up to become a human resources officer or manager from an administrative job in the human resources (or personnel) department.
Employers prefer you to have or be willing to work towards a qualification recognised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) such as the Certificate in Human Resources Practice or Certificate in Learning and Development.
Every company has a personnel department so you could work in a wide range of organisations, including firms in industry, commerce and retail, organisations in local and central government and the health service.
understanding of staff with personal problems or job-related stress
discreet when dealing with confidential matters
fair and objective
decisive and assertive, particularly when disciplinary action is needed or job losses are being announced.
You need to have:
good business sense, as your decisions could affect the future of the company or organisation
excellent communication skills
good number skills for dealing with figures and numerical data
good IT skills
negotiation skills and the ability to influence
the ability to remain calm under pressure, as you may have to make unpopular decisions.
You would train and gain experience on the job with an employer.
Many large employers have well organised programmes offering structured training.
You would also study for relevant qualifications awarded by the CIPD.
The CIPD offer 3 levels of qualifications: Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced.
You can study by part time attendance at college or through distance learning.
Entrants who have certain qualifications at postgraduate level may be eligible for some exemptions from CIPD examinations.
The CIPD has three professional levels of membership: Associate, Chartered and Chartered Fellow. Progress depends not only on academic qualifications but also on practical experience and relevant skills.
You could move on to be a human resources officer or manager in a larger company or organisation.
In a larger organisation you might gain promotion to human resource director or head of human resource management. Employers usually expect you to have a CIPD qualification when applying for higher level jobs.
You might also be able to move into general management.
You might set up your own recruitment agency business.
SkillsCFA is a registered charity promoting skills and qualifications in the workplace. Its work also involves apprenticeships and training programmes across the UK for a whole range of business skills.
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