A Guide to the Human Resources Career Path

Human Resources

A Guide to the Human Resources Career Path

Posted 21 January

So you’re considering one of the most rewarding and worthwhile careers in management: human resources.

People are the asset at the heart of all successful organisations, and that means human resources management is also at the heart of effective businesses and their strategies.

There’s a lot more to the role than the obvious aspects of hiring and firing. The effectiveness of the HR manager can transform not only the lives of employees, make the difference between an organisation’s success or failure.

It’s a super-important job – but how much do you know about it?  

How to begin your career in HR?

Taking one of the many HR management courses is the obvious start. But before that, take the time to find out about the role and where it can take you. Here are some of the questions you need to be able to answer: 

  • What are the HR manager job requirements? 
  • What is the purpose of an HR manager? 
  • What are HR manager skills?
  • What is the significance of human resource management? 

We try and answer some of these questions for you here. HR can be a challenging field of work, so it’s important to consider your motivations and ambition. 

  • Are you ready to start in an entry-level admin job and work your way up?
  • Are you a people person? 
  • Are you interested in business, and what makes organisations tick? 
  • Can you manage difficult situations and difficult people? 
  • Would you be happy to learn and apply detailed procedures and processes? 
  • And, crucially, can you see the bigger picture? 
We want you!

We want you!

What is the definition of Human Resource Management?

Human Resources Managers manage and develop employees in an organisation. They provide clear direction and environment and help to generate a productive working environment. 

Why is HR Management so important?

The benefits of human resource management for employees can be huge, making the difference between dreading Monday mornings and looking forward to work.

Getting HR wrong can lead to an unhappy workforce which loses its motivation to perform well. Underlying causes can include a long-hours culture, employees feeling unsupported or not getting opportunities to progress or train, as well as issues around pay, benefits or job satisfaction.

The effects of this can threaten the organisation itself. If employees aren’t performing as well as they could, this not only affects the organisation’s productivity and bottom line, but its reputation. It can be harder to hire good staff, and even affect how customers feel about a business.

The goals of human resource management encompass the success of the whole organisation and how the outside world feels about it.  

What is the job of a Human Resource Manager?

In the simplest terms, an HR manager hires and develops employees, evaluates performance, mediates in disputes and communicates across the organisation. That can mean managing challenging situations such as disciplinary action, disputes, absence and redundancy.

Human Resource management practices also involve advising managers on employment law and best practice, developing HR policies to drive performance, developing and implementing training and development schemes, administering the payroll, and supporting recruitment and new starters.

HR managers are also involved in big picture issues such as succession planning, aligning HR strategy and business goals, supporting change management processes and working to align the workforce with the organisation’s goals. 

Types of HR Manager

The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), the professional body for HR, suggests there are 12 career areas: generalists, diversity and inclusion, employee relations, employee experience, HR business partners, learning and development, organisation development and design, people analytics, people consultant, resourcing, reward and talent management. 

What are the problems faced by HR professionals?

In 2020 and 2021 Covid-19 is likely top of the list, posing challenges for organisations forced to embrace remote working or new safety rules in the workplace. HR managers have been responsible for setting policies around safe working, as well as keeping staff motivated and connected, looking after their wellbeing, and often having to manage redundancies.

In normal times, routine problems for HR managers can include embracing change, succession planning and talent spotting, creating a culture of continuous development and learning, managing diversity, looking after staff, and building a culture which attracts and retains the best staff.

Day-to-day problems include mediating in tricky employee disputes and disciplinary actions and performance managing staff.

The art of mediation

The art of mediation

What degree is needed to become a Human Resource Manager?

You don’t need a degree in Human Resources, but the website gradireland says it is an advantage, as is a Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) qualification. The UK careers service suggests degrees in HR management, business management and human resources, psychology or business with languages are desirable.

What do you study in Human Resource Management?

If you’re considering human resource management courses in Ireland, the HRM module on the Bachelor of Business degree here at Galway Business School covers topics including the main HRM functions in strategic succession planning and critically evaluating employment relations within organisations. Students who have completed the module will also be able to:

 ●       Contrast the disciplines of Personnel Management and Human Resource Management

●     Identify the implication of legislation governing the employment relationship

●        Explain the development of compensation and benefits approaches and reward management in contemporary organisations

●        Critically analyse the current topical issues in the management of work environments.

Is it difficult to find a job in HR?

Conversations on the CIPD forum suggest getting a first job in HR can sometimes be challenging: be prepared to take entry level roles and work your way up. It is worth investing the time and effort: payscale.com says the average salary for a Human Resources manager in Ireland is €48,169. The salary for an entry-level manager with less than a year in the job is €33k, rising to perhaps €63k after 20 years.

Interested in finding out more about studying HR management programmes in Ireland, and learning the essentials of human resource management? We can support you in your career aspirations with HR management programmes here at Galway Business School. 

You can take our Human Resource Management course as part of the Springboard initiative, which means it’s free for eligible groups and 90 per cent funded for others. Our course will develop your transferrable working skills, help you progress in this area at work, or you can move on to our Bachelor of Business programme.

Contact us to find out more.