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Career Advice

How to become a Human Resource Manager

If you are someone who loves working with other people, is most comfortable within an office environment and doesn’t mind having to handle inordinate amounts of paper work then step forward because a career as a HR manager could just be the one for you.

As with many roles there is no tried and true method which if followed will magically guarantee a successful career as a human resource manager,  but of course there are a few steps which can be taken which should give you the best possible chances.

But before we get to all that we had better answer the question…

What exactly is a human resource manager?

You might well think “They are the ones who handle all the hirings and firings within a business”- which is usually jobdescriptiontrue, however this represents only one, very small aspect of their complex and varied role.

In the most basic terms a Human Resource Manager is a senior member of staff within an organisation who is responsible (usually supported by a team) for maximizing employee performance in service of their employer’s strategic objectives.  Of course this definition raises more questions than it answers so to clear this up, here are some of the responsibilities, duties and work activities that you could be expected to carry out on a daily basis.

  • Planning and carrying out recruitment drives, ensuring that the right people for the roles are employed by the business

  • Ensuring that staffing levels meet the needs of the business

  • Overseeing the processing of staff employment

  • Organising and conducting training / development programs to ensure that staff are as well qualified as possible to carry out their role

  • Ensuring that the company is fully compliant will all employment legislation

  • Preparing reports by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing information

  • Ensuring that proper health and safety practices are promoted and maintained

  • Taking a primary role in employee / employer relations including managing absence, disciplinaries and grievances

  • Assessing employee satisfaction and making improvements where necessary

  • Making sure that relevant company and employment information is relayed to staff

skillSkills and personal attributes

The role of HR manager is one that involves a very high level of responsibility as well as a broad range of competencies meaning that there are certain skills and personal attributes which can be of great benefit to anyone wishing to have a successful career in the role.

Obviously it would be impossible to isolate precisely what it is that makes someone a good HR manager, however some of the things that could come in handy include;

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills within a professional environment and the ability to quickly build rapport

  • It is important that you are someone who can maintain an air of approachability to ensure that all staff feel they are able to come to you with issues that may arise

  • The ability to develop strong professional relationships with a range of people  from junior staff to the most senior employees of the company

  • The ability to multi-task and prioritise a workload which will see you carrying out a very broad scope of activities

  • Outstanding administration skills and the ability to complete complex  IT tasks

  • Great communication skills and the ability to communicate complex information to a wide range of people

  • A thick skin, which will be particularly necessary in cases where you need to terminate someone’s employment

  • The desire to maintain and update your own knowledge of important issues such as employment legislation

  • The ability to thrive within a high pressure environment which will often involve working to tight targets

  • Excellent management skills

Hours of work and salary

There is no getting away from the fact that the work of a HR manager is often incredibly high pressure, but one of the role’s saving graces is that they are normally subject to a typical working week  when it comes to contracted hours.  On the whole HR managers will work a fairly standard week operating within office hours 9- 5:30 normally

Tell me about yourself

Tell me about yourself

about 37.5 hours per week.

There may be times however that you will be expected to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that work is completed and targets are met.  For example nearing the end of a recruitment drive you may be required to work overtime in order to help get the new employees processed fully through the HR department as swiftly as possible.

The salary that you can expect to receive as a HR manager will of course depend on the company that you are working for and the size of the work force that you are catering to.   However it would be very reasonable to assume that within a Managerial position in a HR department you would receive in excess of £35,000, but this figure could be significantly higher or lower depending on a number of factors.

Qualifications and career path

Becoming a HR manager takes a long time… it is not one of those roles that you will be able to walk straight into after university, but rather you must climb your way up the professional ladder using your education and training as a solid foundation.

In order to gain an initial role within a HR department (such as HR assistant)  you will normally be expected to hold a degree in a relevant subject such as Human Resources, Business or Business Administration with specific emphasis being placed upon modules directly related to human resource management or personnel.

However, if you do not hold a relevant degree this does not exclude you from working within a HR department since you should still be able to gain a position in a role such as administrator which would give you the opportunity to learn ‘on the job’ and progress through the department.

As you move your way up the HR ladder, you will find that most management roles do require you to be CIPD qualified. The CIPD is The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development which regulates the professional standards of those working with HR services.    CIPD qualifications are accredited certificates intended for those who wish to pursue a career in personnel or human resources.  There are numerous qualification available which range from Level 3 (the equivalent to an A Level ) and Level 7 (the equivalent of a postgraduate qualification).   For the role of HR manager it is likely that you will need to hold a CIPD accreditation to at least a least a Level 5 equivalent, but more usually a Level seven advanced qualification is required.

These courses can be completed at a wide range of CIPD centres across the country- visit the website for all the information you will need.

If you still fancy a career as a HR manager, good luck and we hope that you found this quick guide useful.  If however you reckon your talents lay elsewhere why not take a look at some of the other great career guide in our career directory.


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