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What Is the Typical Human Resources Career Path?

Updated: Jan 26

Author: Vee Saudargaite

Publication date; 16.01.2024

The importance of Human Resource Careers

The importance of human resources (HR) has never been greater and since 2020, the number of job posts relating to HR has increased by 87%. It is no secret that Human Resource specialists are the foundation of any business. Their proficiency in strategic workforce planning, employee development, and talent management drives the expansion and prosperity of every organisation.

Choosing your Human Resources Career Path

Determining your Human Resources career path is crucial to achieving your personal and professional objectives. By creating a career path map for yourself, you can decide what route you want to take in the future. This of course depends on your skills and professional goals in the Human Resources Sector.

There are a number of roles you can take in the Human Resources industry, ranging from Entry-level to Generalist to Specialist. In fact, these HR roles assist you in determining which career path might be the most ideal for you, with consideration to your skills and experience.

The Modern Human Resources Career Path


A career was formerly thought of as a sequence of steps up to the highest point of achievement, which was holding a leadership position. A worker's career path would normally advance upwards. For example, from employee to manager, to director of a function, then to vice president of a department and so on. In other words, your career often follows your organization's hierarchical structure. So, every job you had served as merely a stepping stone to help you advance to a more senior role


It is not the standard these days to think of a career in terms of organizational hierarchy. Nowadays, a career path is thought of as a sequence of events that give you chances to advance your knowledge and abilities. It's possible that your career will continue to progress and that you'll become Senior Vice President in the end. However, your previous positions were not just stepping stones to your greatest professional achievement.

What makes a successful Human Resources Professional?

Comprehensive understanding of learning and development, talent acquisition, and salary and benefits is not sufficient for an HR professional to be effective. For this reason, it is important that you also comprehend the business's operations. This means encompassing the methods used to manufacture its goods, provide its services, turn a profit, and so on. Therefore, Human Resources Specialists who have experience in marketing, sales, or product development are now rather popular.

What is a HR Department in an organisation and what do they do?

The way any business hires and retains employees is greatly influenced by its human resources (HR) department. Almost every organization, from start-ups to multinational companies like Apple, needs an HR department. This is because they can fill job openings, manage benefits, and foster a positive workplace culture. A degree in human resource management or a similar field is typically the first step taken in the standard human resources career path

The duties of an HR Department

Hire new applicants

One of the few divisions in the workplace where employees communicate with every worker in the organization, starting with hiring, is the Human Resources Department. HR representatives post job openings on the corporate website and on professional networking sites like Indeed as part of the hiring process. Staff members then go over resumes, screen out unsuitable applicants and interview prospects. Afterwards, they forward the best applicants to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Oversee training and keeping track of laws:

The Human Resources Department is also in charge of overseeing certain parts of onboarding training. They also handle health insurance enrolments and other perks for staff members. Another task of HR is to keep an eye on any new laws or rules that may have an impact on the workers of the organization. For example, Human resources notifies staff members of changes to health insurance providers or tax laws.

HR departments also handle conflicts 

The Human Resources Department of any company also handles disagreements. This includes formal complaints made against managers and disputes amongst co-workers. They also take part in disciplinary actions such as formal written warnings and employee terminations.

Human Resources is involved at every stage 

The HR Department is involved from the application stage to the exit interview during an employee's time at the company. Most Human Resources Departments include a team of HR experts who each focus on particular activities that match with their skill set and experience.

How do human resources individuals pursue their careers?

Human resources departments vary from one another. Some may require a large crew to staff, whereas tiny businesses may only require one person. HR professionals typically begin their careers in entry-level roles and progress up to executive positions.

Examples of Human Resources related careers

Human Resources Assistant

The administrative responsibilities of this entry-level role include data entry, payroll assistance, and employee recruitment support. For this position, a college degree is frequently not necessary.

Human Resources coordinator

HR coordinators support their supervisors by managing a variety of duties. These include payroll, employee requests, healthcare plan enrolments, record-keeping, background checks, and onboarding new hires. In addition, they do a variety of secretarial tasks like photocopying, emailing prospects, and keeping track of staff members. Although not always necessary, a bachelor's degree or comparable experience is ideal for this role.

Human Resources Specialist

HR specialists are workers in the middle of their careers. In particular, they concentrate on locating and hiring fresh talent to cover vacancies. What’s more, they create job posts, evaluate resumes, screen applicants, and hold interviews as part of their daily duties. For this position, a bachelor's degree and relevant experience are typically requirements.

Generalist in Human Resources

As opposed to specialists, HR Generalists handle almost all departmental duties. These include leading training sessions, hiring new employees, and settling disputes with health insurance companies. A generalist in a mid-career position typically manages coordinators or assistants and assigns work as needed. Again, a bachelor's degree and relevant experience are typically needed for this role

Human Resources Manager

A manager of human resources is regarded as a senior employee. In most small- to medium-sized businesses, the HR manager holds the highest position within the HR division. Actually, the HR manager in a major company may answer to a higher-ranking employee or the HR director. 

HR managers ensure that staffing goals and HR department objectives are reached by closely collaborating with their team of specialists and generalists. A bachelor's degree in human resources and a few years of HR experience or a leadership position are also additional requirements for this role.

Career Opportunities with a degree in HR

As stated throughout this article, a career in human resources (HR) also offers a wealth of opportunities. HR specialists enable people to realize their greatest potential and contribute to the success of organizations as a whole. 

Furthermore, it is clear that every organization has a Human Resources Department which plays a fundamental role. So, HR specialists play a crucial part in creating vibrant work environments that promote employee happiness, corporate expansion, and other goals


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