The Ever-Growing Field of Human Resources

by A Guest

If you have ever applied for a job, chances are that you’ve worked with a human resources department. Human resources professionals do more than just screen applications and conduct interviews, though. From managing employee benefits to mediating conflicts within the company, those who work in human resources fill a wide variety of roles and are a vital part of any successful organization.

What Do Human Resources Professionals Do?

Human resources work generally falls into one of four areas: recruitment and placement, employee relations, benefits and policy management. In some companies, the human resources specialist might fill all or several of these roles, while in larger companies, those functions are often divided among several employees.

In the recruitment and placement function, human resources professionals perform all of the tasks required to hire new employees. This ranges from developing job postings and accepting applications to performing interviews and checking references. One of the most important aspects of this job is not only ensuring that applicants meet the requirements of the job, but also that the hiring process adheres to government and internal rules and policies. And when an employee leaves the company, whether by choice or due to firing or layoff, human resources handles the termination process.

Employee relations functions are also wide-ranging. Human resources are often the clearinghouse for all of the company policies; for everything spanning from dress codes to medical leave. Human resource specialists or managers communicate the company policies to employees and make sure that everyone is up-to-date of changes in both internal policies and new laws that affect employees. Human resources specialists also often serve as a type of counselor, working with employees who are having trouble with their supervisors or co-workers, helping everyone come up with solutions.

Benefits are a subspecialty of human resources, but one that cannot be overlooked. If you focus in this area, you’ll work with both employees and outside vendors to manage the benefits program, providing information and assistance to employees and serving as a liaison between the benefits provider and the company.

Finally, policy management is often filled by experienced human resources professionals with several years of experience as well as a Masters in human resources. These professionals work at the upper levels of the organization, interpreting labor laws and developing company policies that ensure organizational compliance, handling labor disputes and overseeing the company human resources program.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

If you want to work in human resources, in most cases you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree; some employers will accept an associate’s degree and experience, but the vast majority of HR professionals hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the job function, you might need specialized training in human resources or business. Some jobs also require certification in a particular subject area. Human resources organizations, like the Society of Human Resources Management, offer certification in several specialized areas that usually require course work or an examination. 

What Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the human resources field is expected to grow faster than other occupations in the next decade. As the economy improves and businesses begin hiring more workers again, there will be a growing need for HR professionals. However, one of the fastest growing areas of HR is in the employment services field:  recruiters, employment and staffing services and temporary agencies. Many companies are beginning to outsource their HR functions, particularly in the areas of hiring and benefits. Thus, those job opportunities are expected to increase.

Human resources professionals earn an average of $52,000 per year; governmental agencies and large corporations pay the highest wages, while small businesses and nonprofit HR salaries were lower. However, most HR professionals work in an office environment during standard office hours. Only those professionals at the highest levels work extended hours or remain “on call” outside of the regular work day.

Human resources is an exciting field with a high level of job security; as long as people work in organizations, there will be a need for others to fill these roles. If you have good interpersonal and communication skills and have a sincere interest in working with people, then this might be a good fit for you!

This article was provided by Jeffery Colvin who has over five years of experience working in human resources. Jeffery is currently going back to school pursuing a project management degree.

This post was written by A Guest

This post was written by a guest. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author box.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eve July 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Human resources is an excellent field to enter into if you care about people. I’ve been working in it since 1999 and that’s what’s kept me going!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: