HR Manager: Job description

As a HR manager - also called personnel manager, you're responsible for the welfare of your organisation's staff. Your role will be varied and challenging.

You must make sure that the organisation is employing the right people, with the right skills and qualifications for the job.

You'll need an excellent understanding of how your organisation operates, its business requirements and commercial objectives. You'll work very closely with other departments and provide an information resource for both employees and senior management.

You'll be concerned with developing, advising and implementing management policies. Depending on the size and the type of organisation, you may be involved in all aspects of the role, or specialise in an area such as employment legislation, training or graduate recruitment.

Essentially, you'll be responsible for:

- Employment law - working conditions, disciplinary and grievance procedures, equal opportunities, redundancies, paternity pay and maternity rights.

- Recruitment - hiring staff, producing job descriptions, placing adverts, working with recruitment consultancies, organising interviews and running assessment centres.

- Training and development - putting together a staff training programme and identifying suitable courses for staff.

- Salary reviews - researching salaries and ensuring they are in line with legal requirements and industry standards.

- Documentation - writing staff handbooks, contracts, staff memos, and issuing written offers of employment, promotion etc.

- Staff welfare - providing counselling facilities and sports and social activities for staff.

You may also work closely with company lawyers and trade unions.

Hours and Environment

Basically, you'll work between 37 and 40 hours a week, from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. However, you may often need to work extra hours. Your role will be mainly office based, although you may be travelling to visit other business sites or to attend meetings and conferences.

Skills and Interests

A human resources manager should have:

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Diplomatic and negotiaton skills

The ability to work on your own initiative

Outstanding organisational skills

The ability to work under pressure

The ability to work with personnel from all levels

Tact, and the ability to deal with difficult situations

Numerical and budgeting skills

IT skills

Knowledge of UK employment legislation.

An interest in career development and training within the workplace.


It is possible to start at administration level and work up the company structure. National organisations may run graduate training schemes which specialise in human resources.

Relevant commercial experience, for example in management or law, is an advantage.


Training is on the job. Some organisations have structured training programmes where you can gain experience in other business areas. They offer various courses and qualifications through full-time study, part-time study, or flexible learning.


The majority of commercial and public sector organisations have a human resources function. Potential employers include manufacturers, retailers, banks, consultancies, local and national government.

Career progression is structured, and there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience or specialise in other areas of human resources.

You may move between employers to progress, or switch into another sector, such as training or marketing.

You also have the opportunity to become self-employed and offer a consultancy service. You can work abroad as well.

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