What Is a Human Resources Manager? | Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Read on to discover more about what a human resources manager does 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 oversees a company or business's administrative and organisational functions. The manager usually heads the HR department and plays 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 company culture development.

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 organisation 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 its own speciality. 

In larger organisations with more specialised 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 contracts, resolve grievances, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements and is responsible for employee involvement and engagement programs

  • 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 industries, and jobs are plentiful. The HR profession grew four times faster than the rest of the UK workforce in the past decade—42 percent compared to 10 percent [1].  The average annual salary for a human resources manager in the UK is £42,591. It can range from £36,513 for an entry-level position to £55,003 per year for the most experienced personnel [2].

How to become a human resources manager

Human resources managers must be highly motivated, organised, ethical, and have good leadership skills. They also need 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 position. Still, 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. You may also be able to work your way up into the position with on-the-job training and experience. 

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:

  • Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) awards HR credentials in the UK, offering foundation, association, and advanced-level options.

  • Professional in Human Resources-International (PHRi) is the international version of the US-based PHR certification. It focuses on mastery of skills relating to the technical and operational functions of HR management and is a respected credential program

Get started with Coursera.

You can take various steps to pursue a career as a human resources manager. For example, you may opt to gain postgraduate qualifications with a Master of Business Administration. Alternatively, you can explore the field to 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, on Coursera.

Article sources


HR. “HR Profession Grew Four-Times Faster Than UK Workforce in Past Decade, https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/hr-profession-grew-four-times-faster-than-uk-workforce-in-past-decade/.” Accessed June 13, 2024.

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