Human resources (HR)

Human resources, recruitment and training careers for graduates: HR

Human resources (HR) work, previously known as 'personnel', covers all areas of people management from recruitment onwards. Because people management is integral to business success, the HR department is a key part of most large businesses, and HR manages will work closely with senior management.

The HR function covers a variety of different areas and in a large organisation you will be able to specialise. These include:

  • Recruiting and selecting new staff: assessing staffing levels, writing job descriptions; advertising jobs, managing selection process.
  • Staff development and training: appraisal systems, staff development programmes, devising training sessions.
  • Remuneration: advising on salary scales and benefits, administering payroll, pensions etc.
  • Employee relations: a wide area covering welfare;employment law: health and safety; equal opportunities; grievances and disciplinary procedures; liaising with unions; redundancies; change management.

Generalist HR functions are usually found in small and medium sized companies where the HR manager will deal with the whole range of HR activities. In large multinationals you will often find specialists, for example in learning and development, recruitment or employee relations.

While some HR graduate training programmes are available, they are rare in Ireland. Many graduates gain an entry-level role as an HR administrator. Competition for HR roles among graduates is fierce and while an HR degree is not necessary, it can be an advantage.