What is an HR Specialist?

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human resource specialistAs a vital member of the Human Resource (HR) department that may be literally involved in any aspect of an employer’s workforce to smooth business relations, a human resources specialist is a wearer of many hats in the business world with tasks ranging from hiring new employees to addressing labor disputes and administering employee benefits. In the coming years, it is projected that organizations will need more HR specialists to handle increasingly complex employment regulations, deal with changing healthcare coverage options, and find replacements for retired workers leaving the workforce. In fact, employment of HR specialists is expected to grow at an average of 8 percent, thus creating 33,200 new jobs before 2022. In order to determine whether this career path is right for you, read on to learn about the job overview for human resources specialists.

What Human Resources Specialists Do

Since HR specialists are usually trained in all of the various human resources discipline to perform tasks through all areas of the department, no two days in this profession are the same. While many human resources specialists focus on recruiting, screening, interviewing, and hiring new employees into positions that will allow them to thrive, they often handle other human resources work as well. For instance, HR specialists may be responsible for identifying employment needs for managers, helping with orientation, maintaining employment records, administering benefits, processing payroll, ensuring company compliance with legal regulations, and handling any employee-related problems. HR specialists often work in one of the five major specialty areas, which are compensation and benefits, training and development, employment and recruiting, information systems, and employee assistance.

Where Do HR Specialists Work

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists hold about 418,000 jobs in the United States. At approximately 15 percent of the workforce, the largest amount of HR specialists were employed within the employment services industry, which includes temporary help services, employment placement agencies, and professional employer organizations. Others worked for private corporations, office administrative services, consulting services, software publishing companies, brokerage firms, labor unions, and vocational rehabilitation centers. Another large percentage of HR specialists are working for local, state, and federal government agencies to perform various activities in the human resources area. Most HR specialists are employed full-time during regular business hours in an office, although travel may be needed.

How to Become a Human Resources Specialist

Although the educational requirements for becoming an HR specialist tends to vary greatly according to the position and employer, most usually have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Students who are seeking to become human resources specialists should consider majoring in human resource management, business, accounting, management, psychology, or another related field. While earning a degree, it is recommended that aspiring HR specialists obtain relevant work experience by serving as human resources assistants or taking up customer service-related positions. After graduation, many HR specialists choose to further establish their professional credentials by earning certification from a professional association, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Overall, HR specialists are given the broad responsibility of filling the gap separating management from the workforce to ensure companies recruit and retain the best employees to compete in today’s competitive business marketplace. If you possess strong decision-making, interpersonal, listening, public speaking, and organizational skills, then you may want to consider becoming a human resources specialist to lead a fascinating career working with people on a variety of different tasks.

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