The Wide Range of HR Careers

One thing common among all jobs in human resources (HR) is that the work directly involves and/or benefits employees of an organization. While there are other common themes among HR jobs beyond this commonality, it’s important to note that the diversity of jobs for those walking the human resources career path is vast and varied.

Perhaps you’re looking to become a human resources manager or a human resources director, or maybe you simply want to know what is available in the way of human resources jobs in Canada. The good thing is that there is plenty of information available on HR jobs and according to WorkBC, Human Resources Managers and Human Resources Professionals are among the highest in-demand jobs in the province for the coming decade.

How to become a Human Resources Manager

In the past, becoming an HR manager often meant starting in the HR (or a related) department in a company and working your way up to a management position. This is no longer the case. For the past decade plus, companies want to hire work-ready individuals to manage their HR needs and HR teams. While this individual may come from within the company, more often than not, those getting the human resources management jobs have a combination of education and experience from outside the firm.

This begins with education. For those in HR jobs hoping to advance, the stage is already set to add education to their work experience and give them greater opportunity for advancement both within their current organization and outside of it. For those not in the HR field, but with management or other experience, the education allows for a transfer of skills into the field of human resources management in Canada.

A number of schools provide programs for a Human Resources Management Diploma or Human Resources Certification, but not all programs are created equal. The ideal educational program will include a variety of aspects from within the HR profession to allow the individual to branch out into area like: training, recruitment, labour relations, benefits and many others.

When it’s time to pursue a human resources diploma, look for a school that offers classes touching on: employee and labour relations, rewards programs, development and training, recruitment, and organizational effectiveness. For those already in the field, or for those who feel it’s important, it also makes sense to look to a program that offers accreditation by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) or another similar body. This allows students to not only achieve an advanced HR education, but also prepares students for the National Knowledge Examination (NKE) which asses HR knowledge and skills and leads to the Chartered Professional in Human Resources Designation (CPHR).

While the designation isn’t necessary for all HR jobs, having the background of a human resources management course is becoming more and more of a requirement.

Jobs in the HR field

As discussed, jobs in the field of human resources are quite diverse and broad-reaching with titles like “Training Specialist”, “Human Resources Associate”, “Human Resources Analyst” and “Human Resources Manager”. Regardless of the job title, it’s what the role entails that counts.

In a review of “Human Resources” jobs in Vancouver, B.C., on indeed.com, more than 1,000 listings were returned for full-time roles. The average annual salary (based on 81 salaries) is $50,536 with the majority of jobs falling in the $40,000 salary estimate range.

One posting for a Human Resources Generalist is ideal for those who like all aspects of the HR field. It includes employee relations, development and training, benefits, employee onboarding, health and safety and administrative duties. This role is also looking for someone with a minimum of 5 years in the field.

Another position – that of a Human Resources Coordinator – is looking for one to three years of experience with a preference for those with an HR-related diploma or degree. This role is primarily involved in the labour relations side of the industry so communication skills are imperative (both in-person and in writing) as are computer skills and an obvious interest (and some experience) understanding labour laws, policies and procedures.

A Human Resources Manager post requires a degree or diploma in business administration, human resources, or another related field- however, obviously, candidates with HR-specific education will have a leg-up on others. The human resources manager job description includes generalist duties as the job is to manage the department in terms of planning, organizing, directing as well as working with the HR staff and their responsibilities. Overseeing the process of wage increases, recruiting, vacation requests, performance reviews, training and conflict resolution are all part of this role.

Another position for a Human Resources Manager requires a post-secondary education in the field and is also a generalist role. This one includes recruitment, recognition and motivation, policies and procedures, work-life balance initiatives, corporate culture improvement and safety.

In addition to HR professionals serving in a position within an organization, there is a growing need for HR contract employees to help fill in where an HR team needs extra help, or a company doesn’t have budget for a full-time HR professional. The ability to prove you are a certified human resources professional with both education and experience would be ideal for this type of position. Plus, a certain amount of management and administrative skills will be required in order to run a consulting business – but that’s a topic for another post!

A career in human resources management in Canada can be exceptionally rewarding for those who believe in creating a positive working environment and ensuring employees of an organization get what they need to be happy, functional, optimal workers. The phrase that employees are a company’s greatest asset is tossed around easily and frequently, however, for an HR professional, ensuring those assets are well cared for is the key.

With the expected ongoing growth in the field of HR professionals, it is an area with advancement written all over it. For those who enjoy the challenge of HR duties, this could be the career of a lifetime.

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