Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work with others are essential traits of a successful human resources representative. You'll also need skills in listening, public speaking, decision-making and problem-solving. Many positions require a college degree and work experience, but a career as HR representative offers solid prospects and the opportunity for advancement to manager.
Scope of Duties
The duties of HR representatives include recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff, as well as helping the organization increase employee productivity, morale and retention. HR representatives provide orientation to new employees and ongoing training and development. The job includes implementing programs such as Managing Equal Opportunity and Americans with Disabilities Act and responding to discrimination or workplace complaints. HR reps manage compensation and benefits programs and answer questions about these programs. They also manage other employee programs such as recreation or child care, but these duties vary depending on the size and type of organization.
Qualifications and Certification
For entry-level positions, employers usually seek college graduates with coursework or a degree in human resources. Some hiring managers require work-study or internship experience for these jobs. Not all colleges offer a bachelor's degree major in human resources, however, and many positions require an advanced degree or several years of experience. Professional associations and organizations offer certification in specific areas of human resources, such as Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, Professional in Human Resources and Senior Professional in Human Resources.
The average salary of human resource specialists was $61,560 annually as of 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.However, wages vary with the type of employer. HR specialists working for employment services averaged $58,030 annually, while those working for company management averaged $65,140 per year. Specialists working for the federal government received $81,190 per year on average, and those with the rank of HR manager averaged $111,180 annually in 2013.
HR representatives generally work in clean and comfortable office environments. Some representatives travel to job fairs or college campuses for recruitment, while others travel to other office locations to provide training. Most representatives work a standard 40-hour week.
The BLS predicts 8 percent growth in jobs for HR specialists between 2012 and 2022, compared to 10 percent for all occupations. However, the job prospects for HR specialists are favorable, especially in employment services/ Applicants with a bachelor's degree and experience can expect the best opportunities. At the level of HR manager, the BLS predicts a 13 percent increase in jobs. A master's degree or certification will give you an edge in advancing to this job title.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Human Resources Managers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 -- Human Resource Specialists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 -- Human Resource Managers
- Photo Credit Fabrice Michaudeau/Hemera/Getty Images
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