What Is a Human Resources Manager? | Your 2023 Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Read on to discover more about what human resources managers do and what you need to land a rewarding career in HR.

[Featured image] A human resources manager walks through an office with a job candidate.

A human resources (HR) manager is someone who oversees the administrative and organizational functions of a company or business. The manager usually heads the HR department, and they play an important role as a bridge between management and employees.  

HR managers work in nearly every industry. As long as a company has employees, an HR manager is typically needed to oversee hiring, training, and the organization and development of the company culture.

What does a human resources manager do?

As a human resources manager, you'll typically perform a wide range of tasks depending on the type of organization and industry you work for. Some of the most common human resources manager duties include:

  • Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new staff

  • Supervising disputes and overseeing disciplinary procedures

  • Handling employee relations

  • Ensuring safety and health on the job

  • Managing employee benefit and compensation programs

The role of a human resources manager will largely depend on the size of the company. In some smaller companies, you may serve as an HR generalist, overseeing the entire scope of human resources. In other companies, there may be more than one HR manager in the human resources department, each with their own specialty. 

In larger organizations with more specialized human resources management roles, the specialties will often be broken down into the following categories:

  • HR development: Conducts training sessions and onboarding for new and seasoned employees

  • Workforce planning and employment: Helps find new talent for the company

  • Employee relations: Helps negotiate union contracts, resolve grievances, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements and is responsible for employee involvement, engagement programs, and similar employee-related roles

  • Risk management: Conducts inspections, maintains accident records, develops health and safety programs, and works to ensure the well-being of all employees

  • Total rewards: Oversees employee compensation and benefits programs

Why pursue a career in human resources management?

Human resources management is a position that spans across industries, and jobs are plentiful. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that HR management jobs will grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031, around average for all occupations.

The median annual salary for an HR manager in the US in 2021 was $126,230, according to the BLS [1].

How to become a human resources manager

Human resources managers need to be highly motivated, organized, and ethical as well as possess good leadership skills. It's also important for these managers to have the right training and education to perform their duties effectively.

Degree requirements for HR managers 

Getting the right education is the first step to becoming a human resources manager. A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement for this job position, but some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in human resource management or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in HR.

HR manager certifications

Certifications can also help enhance your resume and validate that you have the skills necessary for the job. Some companies require popular certifications, such as:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR) focuses on mastery of skills relating to the technical and operational functions of HR management.

  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) is intended for HR managers who work in employee learning and performance.

  • Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is designed for HR professionals who work in talent management.

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) is meant for senior management or HR directors who want to take their skills and training to the next level.

  • Senior SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) prepares people to be leaders in HR management and focuses on employee performance and efficiency.

Get started with Coursera

There are several steps you can take if you want to pursue a career as a human resources manager. Set yourself on a path to a career in HR management with the Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois. See if a career in HR might be a good fit for you by taking a beginner-friendly course, like Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers from the University of Minnesota. 



Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers

Become a better manager of people. Develop strategies and skills for hiring, managing performance, and rewarding employees.


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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Performance Management, interviewing, Human Resources (HR), Onboarding, managing people, Resource Management, Hr Strategy, Recruiting, Recruitment, Performance Appraisal, Organizational Culture, Incentive, Compensation And Benefits, Compensation Analysis

Article sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Human Resources Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm.” Accessed November 30, 2022. 

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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