What are the Different Human Resources Careers?

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  • Written By: Kerrie Main
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2018
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Many people believe human resources careers were first established during the industrial revolution when business owners realized how crucial employees were to the overall success of a company. The first human resource (HR) jobs typically functioned in payroll and staffing areas, but soon expanded into other areas with the rise of labor unions and employee demands. In the modern workplace, HR careers can encompass a wide variety of departments and levels including benefits, business leadership, compensation, consulting, diversity, employee relations, ethics and sustainability, global HR, labor relations, organizational and employee development, safety and security, staffing management, and technology.

Human resources careers in benefits and compensation typically focus on employee health-insurance packages, vacation time, sick and personal days, life insurance, salary guidelines, and payroll. These human resource professionals usually conduct research, meet with insurance companies, and communicate with employees regarding how to register for benefits, how to accrue vacation time, and more. They can manage worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits, establish wellness programs, and manage retirement planning programs.


Staffing management human resources careers can be in-house or outside vendor positions that work with a flexible workforce, i.e. temporary or contract employees brought in to meet seasonal needs. Employee relations jobs typically establish employee and company guidelines, manage disciplinary and harassment issues, and create metrics for employee reviews. These types of human resource managers and assistants usually facilitate conflict resolutions, demotions, or terminations. Labor relations careers typically are staffed by HR professionals with some form of legal background and work with dispute resolutions, legal issues, union issues, and global labor relations.

Business leadership human resources careers usually include responsibilities like budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, mission and vision statements, outsourcing, requests for proposals, and project management. A human resources consultant can be an in-house employee or an outside person that typically gives advice on corporate communication, effective practices, metrics, outsourcing, and technology. HR jobs in technology may focus on electronically stored information, HR information systems, intranets, and more.

Diversity and ethics human resources professionals typically create programs to promote multicultural and ethical practices. Organizational and employee development human resources careers can include coaching, career development programs, training, and mentoring. Safety and security HR positions may assist with risk management, violence, drug and alcohol testing, ergonomics, and emergency response practices.

Many company and business owners believe that with the proper management and systems in place, employees can perform at optimal levels to help ensure the success of the company. Much time and money is focused on employee hiring, training, and retention. In all of their specialized areas, human resources careers can be a critical part of the overall company operations and performance.



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