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Human Resources Director

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $85,000
Job Outlook: Good

A human resources director is vitally important for large organizations as they are responsible for trying to attract the most highly qualified and suitable employees, and they must also be able to match them to jobs suitable for their skills. Once these new employees are in place they must make sure they are motivated to remain within the company.
Although in the past human resources directors and coordinators may have only been responsible for performing administration work within the company or organization, which involved recruiting, interviewing and hiring staff, nowadays their job has much more scope. They are often required to work with management and executives regarding planning for the future of the company. They also have to take much more responsibility towards increasing productivity, improving performance and results within an organization.

A director of human resources is often responsible for managing several departments, and it is most likely that each department will be headed by someone who specializes in one particular activity such as training and development, or employment and placement. The head of department will report to the director of human resources, who in turn may be required to report to a human resources executive.

It’s essential for anyone wishing to do this job to be extremely good at managing people, and they must be able to talk to anyone regardless of background and education. They must be able to function well under pressure and to be able to mediate. As a lot of companies tend to be quite multicultural, so speaking a second language can be an advantage for this position.

Education and Training Requirements

The majority of human resources directors will have at least a bachelor’s degree, although there is no specific degree available for personnel administration or human resources. However a degree or qualification in social sciences or behavioral sciences can often be useful for this people centered job. A lot of human resources managers go on to take courses in the principles of management and psychology, although there are a lot of different subjects which are useful for this job. These include accountancy or finance, and knowledge of law can often be beneficial. Knowledge of computers is essential.

A lot of human resources directors will have more advanced degrees such as a master’s degree, which may be in industrial or labor relations, and many have law degrees. In a lot of cases this will be essential for those seeking to obtain management positions.

Getting the Job

The majority of employers who have openings available in human resources will be looking for someone with a college education in something like business administration or law. Obviously someone who has just left college could not apply for a job as director of human resources, and it is definitely something they will have to work up to. Duties given to recent graduates will vary depending on whether or not they have completed an internship. The majority of entry-level workers will be sent on training programs, and once they have gained more experience they will be able to move onto supervisory positions and gradually move up the ladder. Professional certification is available for those attending specialized human resources courses.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for human resources directors are very good, with the best opportunities going to those who have good qualifications. It’s also expected that the need for people who specialize in one particular field will increase, as the job is becoming increasingly complex due to regulations and rules constantly being updated. A good human resources director or human resources coordinator could advance to other management positions depending on their level of experience and qualifications. Certainly anyone who has experience in business management and business law is likely to always be in demand. Other possibilities are to open their own outsourcing or consulting firm, or to go on to teach or write, and a Ph.D. would be a real asset for anyone wishing to pursue this path.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working conditions and environment for a human resources director are usually extremely pleasant, as they will be working in a comfortable office setting. Some travel may be necessary depending on the extract the nature of the job, and human resources directors may be required to attend job fairs, professional meetings, and visit college campuses to scout for potential employees. The majority will work a standard 40 hour week, although extra hours may be necessary when contracts are being negotiated or dispute negotiations are taking place.

Salary and Benefits

The salary for a human resources director will vary according to the size and nature of the organization. The average salary is around $85,000, but it can vary between $47,000 and $134,000. The organizations which are likely to pay the highest include manufacturing companies and the healthcare industry. Directors within the information technology industry are also quite highly paid. The least highly paid are likely to be those in the hotel and hospitality sector.

The benefits for this management position are likely to be substantial and to include at the very least healthcare and dental insurance, paid vacations, profit sharing, and payments towards retirement funds.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society for Training and Development
1640 King St., Box 1443
Alexandria, VA 22313

International Foundation of Education, Benefits and Compensation
18700 W Bluemound Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53045
(888) 334-3327

Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(800) 283-7476

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHuman Resources