When it comes to business success; a grand idea, vision, and strategy can only get you so far. Without proper skills and talent, you’re bound to fail before you start.
Here’s where human resources (HR) comes in – a field specialising in maximising employee performance and potential. Currently one of Australia’s largest sectors (comprised of approximately 78,800 workers); the industry is set for further growth and demand in the coming years, driven by massive workforce changes and rapid developments in technology and automation. HR skills are more needed than ever as employers navigate functional, structural, and process changes amidst disruptive IT advancements.
It’s a sector best suited for those with excellent business, administrative, and people-oriented skills, with a plethora of career opportunities available. We explore the four most popular roles in HR management below, and how to break into the industry.
What is human resource management?
Human resource management are the systems and practices dedicated to the recruitment, training, professional development, and welfare of an organisation’s employees. This includes the hiring process; managing compensation and benefits; defining or designing work roles; and developing strategies to optimise worker efficiency and productivity.
HR managers and professionals ultimately aim to acquire and retain top talent for a company, making them an essential part of any business. Roles or positions could include:
Recruitment managers are responsible for an organisation's recruitment team; ensuring sourcing, interviewing, and hiring processes are followed and up-to-date. They may also keep a close eye on recruiting metrics (i.e. cost-per-hire and time-to-hire), implement new job advertising methods, attend job fairs, and advise hiring managers on new interviewing techniques.
Previous experience in screening and evaluating applicants is necessary to succeed in this role, as well as knowledge of broader HR practices and Australian labour laws.
According to Payscale, the average recruitment manager earns an annual $95,000 AUD in Australia, with a high potential of earning more as experience grows.
Those tasked with coaching new recruits are typically supervised by their company’s training managers: staff responsible for maintaining and updating a business’ training procedures.
These professionals work with departments (or the entire organisation) to identify and improve employee training needs. They oversee the business’ training budget; support performance management and reviews; and evaluate current training programs, employee orientation procedures, and professional development strategies.
A strong knowledge of various training methods is critical for this role, these including online courses, workshops, or on-site programs. Excellent research skills (for canvassing available classes, courses, or instructors) and leadership capabilities are also a must.
Payscale statistics show that the average training manager earns $80,364 AUD a year in Australia, with the ability to earn more as one builds experience.
Human resource advisors work with both company management and employees to address issues regarding workplace conflict, recruitment, compensation, or training procedures. They often perform as a workplace “mediator” by managing disputes between workers, as well as an advisor for various company policies.
Managers are typically updated by HR advisors on their employees’ performance, and any trends on employee attitudes or behaviour. They may also be advised on current or future staffing needs.
Extensive HR experience is generally required for this role, particularly in positions supporting management. On average, Australian HR advisors earn $72,497 AUD a year, with potential to earn more further into their careers.
Compensation and benefits manager
When it comes to issues of pay, benefits, and retirement – workers typically turn to their company’s compensation and benefits manager(s). These professionals are responsible for assisting employees on their wages, medical plans, and retirement plans; addressing their questions and highlighting the benefits packages they have available.
Those in this role may also help construct the compensation levels of their organisation, ensuring the rates they implement are both competitive and aligned with business needs. Excellent research and financial skills are thus crucial to this role, as well as strong communication for explaining compensation rules and benefits to employees.
The average compensation and benefits manager earns are generous $140,079 AUD a year in Australia. As with the roles previously mentioned, those later in their careers typically earn a greater salary.
Is human resource management a good degree?
Studying HR management can equip one with a valuable range of both technical and soft, transferable skills.
Human resources qualifications can help build one’s knowledge of business strategies, workplace legislation, and recruitment or training systems; on top of honing one’s collaborative, leadership, and communication skills. All these are applicable to any job – regardless of industry, boosting your overall employability in the job market.
Additionally, you’ll learn to assist with employee relations, develop effective training content, manage turnover, and build knowledge of diversity and inclusion. Such skills and experience are critical to most roles in the HR field, shaping you up to be a valuable candidate.
How to become a human resource manager in Australia
Landing a successful HR career starts with proper training and education. As mentioned, the right courses can equip one with both the general and technical skills required to attract potential employers. According to Job Outlook, plenty of human resource professionals enter the field without formal degrees– though course experience and qualifications can help you stand out in the market.
Aspiring professionals can now find a generous range of online courses available, helping them study with greater convenience.
Once you’ve built the skills required, gaining relevant work experience through internships is recommended; or pursuing entry-level roles in assistant or junior HR positions. Volunteering in student organisations is also a common way to put your newfound skills to practice, giving individuals a chance to explore various areas of HR management – including hiring newcomers and promoting vacancies available.
Develop further insights on the human resources industry
If you want to learn more about human resources, check out Upskilled's industry page. Here, you'll find information on:
Key responsibilities of a human resources professional
The type of roles you can pursue in human resources
Salary and job growth
Key skills you need in human resources
If you're interested in knowing what it's like to work in human resources, be sure to check out our exclusive piece, A day in the life of an HR manager
, where we interview Rachel Gasparini, Upskilled's HR Manager, who shares what a typical day looks like in her role.