HR officers

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Human resources (HR) officers are responsible for hiring, developing and looking after employees. This involves functions such as training and monitoring performance.

HR officers can be generalists who perform a broad range of duties, or specialists who focus on a particular area. Specialisms include employee relations, careers coaching, health and safety and headhunting. If you want to find out about all of the specialisms on offer, head to the HR areas of work section.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • recruiting, training and developing staff

  • making sure that staff get paid correctly and on time

  • pensions and benefits administration

  • approving job descriptions and advertisements

  • looking after the health, safety and welfare of all employees

  • organising staff training sessions and activities

  • monitoring staff performance and attendance

  • advising line managers and other employees on employment law and the employer's own employment policies and procedures

  • ensuring candidates have the right to work at the organisation

  • negotiating salaries, contracts, working conditions or redundancy packages with staff and representatives.

While a general HR officer will take on a mixture of these responsibilities, larger organisations often recruit specialist staff to take on one of these responsibilities as their entire role.


Qualifications and training required


A degree or higher national diploma (HND) in a relevant subject such as HR management or business may be required for some posts. However, some HR graduate schemes welcome applicants from any degree discipline.

Relevant experience is often essential and can be gained in any commercial area through placements or vacation work. It may be necessary to enter the profession at a junior level, or to move into HR work following a general management training scheme.


Key skills for HR officers


  • Commercial awareness

  • Effective organisational skills

  • Ability to form working relationships with people at all levels

  • Teamwork skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Meticulous attention to detail

  • Numerical skills

  • IT skills


Typical employers of HR officers


Any organisation will require a HR officer. Smaller companies may have only one HR officer, while larger companies and public sector organisations will have HR departments.

Typical employers can include:

  • Manufacturers

  • Retailers

  • Banks

  • Local authorities

  • Industrial organisations

  • Charities

  • HR agencies


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