14 Pros and Cons of Being a Human Resource Manager

Human Resource Manager

The HR department often sits at the heart of any organization.

HR professionals handle all matters pertaining to an employee’s life cycle with a company.

From identifying possible future vacancies through succession planning, workforce forecasting, and monitoring labor turnover trends, to placing ads, inducting new hires, training staff, handling grievances, addressing OHS matters, and managing employee benefits.

Their primary role is to establish trust in employees before any of the day-to-day tasks can be handled. 

Pros of Being an HR Manager

This office-based job has several benefits associated with it.

Here are the top seven advantages of becoming an HR manager.

1. Good remuneration

This is a financially rewarding job regardless of which industry you will be working in.

According to Salary.com, the entry-level salary for a newly appointed HR manager with a few years of industry experience can expect to earn $86,687.

Furthermore, the top 10% with over ten years of managerial experience and a tertiary qualification may expect to earn $136,116 per year.

The more responsibility you have and the bigger the organization you are working for, the more money you will be able to earn.

2. Great job satisfaction

For those individuals that have a high need for achievement, excellent communication skills, and are experts at multitasking with superior organizational skills, this is an excellent fit.

These individuals will thrive in this position. 

This is a very emotionally and psychologically rewarding career.

To be successful in this field, you must possess what is known as a servant’s heart.

When these elements come together, you may find that this type of personality is perfectly suited to being an HR manager and vice versa.

You may experience exceptionally high levels of job satisfaction and a sense of purpose.

3. Enhanced strategic thinking

As an HR manager, you will always have to look at the bigger picture while keeping the details in mind.

You take a holistic approach to leadership, business, people management, and organizational planning. 

You are constantly planning and strategizing for the future of the company while your little worker bees, the HR officers, specializing in various areas of HR, roll out the annual plan.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to put your skills to the test and to learn from managers in other areas of the business with regard to strategic thinking.

4. Excellent management experience

All HR managers start as HR officers.

Moving up the corporate ladder is exciting and can be a bit stressful as well. 

Moving up in the HR department to a managerial position can be a great opportunity to gain experience in a management role.

This role requires candidates to be outstanding multi-taskers with the excellent delegation and supervision skills.

You will have the ability to lead a team of HR professionals while strategically planning the future workforce of the company.

This job gives you a holistic overview of the HR function while preparing you for a leadership role. 

5. Free over weekends and public holidays

Unlike other jobs, you will not be required to work much overtime or work over weekends.

Most HR managers in almost all industries are exempt from having to work over weekends or during the holidays because this is more of an administrative role that is subject to standard office hours from nine to five. 

6. Great work-life balance

HR managers earn a pretty decent salary.

There is no need for HR managers to get a second job to supplement their income.

This means that these individuals can spend evenings, weekends, and public holidays with friends and family.

A good work-life balance equates to working a standard workweek and having sufficient time to spend with family while doing the things you enjoy doing and having the capital to do these things.

Most HR managers, regardless of which industry they work in, enjoy a healthy balance and sufficient income.

This balance leads to reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. 

7. HR managers can work in any industry

Most jobs restrict you to working in one industry.

For example, if you are a fitness instructor, you can only work in the fitness industry.

But, working as an HR manager does not restrict you to any specific industry.

You could work in the hospitality industry, the aviation industry, or any other industry, as all industries require HR professionals to manage the workforce and their needs. 

Cons of Being an HR Manager

1. Legal liabilities

There are a plethora of legal issues that HR managers have to face and deal with. 

HR managers are required to keep up-to-date and current on HR legal compliance matters.

Rules and regulations must be drawn up in the form of company policies that adhere to, and align the company with relevant state and federal laws.

Noncompliance may lead to legal action, fines, and penalties.

In addition to this, there are matters pertaining to sexual harassment in the workplace, health and safety regulations that protect all employees of a company, as well as setting up and enforcing rules that prevent discriminatory practices in the workplace.

As the HR manager, it is your job, and yours alone, to ensure that the company is always compliant and that all potential legal issues are ironed out as soon as possible. 

2. Constantly dealing with difficult people

The workforce is made up of people from all walks of life.

This includes the management team.

More often than not, the HR manager will come into contact with difficult employees and members of management.

It is not always easy to keep your cool, but it is required.

That is the reason that most HR managers are required to have exceptionally high levels of emotional intelligence, the ability to remain calm and controlled, and patience. 

3. Conflicting opinions

The HR manager is the middleman/woman between the employees and management.

It is not uncommon for staff to have conflicting views on the same topic.

As such, you may find that many employees disagree on certain matters and it becomes your job as the HR manager to control the conflict and refine it to a specific space. 

4. Dealing with labor unions

Many of the northern states have to engage with unions.

While unions in and of themselves are not the issue, the issue arises when negotiations with the union come to a halt and the workforce goes on strike, costing the company millions of dollars in lost revenue. 

The reality is that you may find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place because it is your responsibility as the HR manager to deal with and resolve these issues.

However, more often than not, you will not be the one setting the wage increase amount.

That is up to the finance department and the CEO. 

It then becomes the responsibility of HR and Operations to resolve the issues with the unions which often result in a deadlock.

This can be quite stressful. 

In some countries, such as South Africa, unions are known to go on annual wage strikes, often crippling one industry after the other, in an attempt to rectify what they perceive as unfair annual increases. 

5. Do not always have a seat in the boardroom

It is no secret that many companies do not view the HR department or the HR manager on the same level as other department managers, such as the finance manager, the operations manager, or the customer relations manager. 

This is because there is still this archaic view around HR and the fact that HR is not quite as relevant to the success of the company as these other departments.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Therefore, you may find that as an HR manager, you are constantly trying to prove your worth at the board room table. 

6. Low job security

The market is somewhat flooded with HR professionals at the moment and you may find that there is an oversupply of qualified HR managers looking for new work.

When the supply is high, the demand is low.

It is also a highly competitive field and you are easily replaceable. 

7. It can be very stressful

This may not be the case for all industries.

But certain industries experience exceptionally high labor turnover and, as a result, you will be on a constant recruitment drive. 

The problem is that recruitment costs money.

You want your employees to stay in their positions for as long as possible and even progress within the company if at all possible.

But, the very nature of some industries does not allow this and you will end up managing the recruitment division of your department much more than other divisions. 

For example, the hospitality industry and the fast-food industry are infamous for high levels of labor turnover. 

Pros and Cons of Being a Human Resource Manager – Summary Table

Pros of Being an HR ManagerCons of Being an HR Manager
1. Good remuneration1. Legal liabilities
2. Great job satisfaction2. Constantly dealing with difficult people
3. Enhanced strategic thinking3. Conflicting opinions
4. Excellent management experience4. Dealing with labor unions
5. Free over weekends and public holidays5. Do not always have a seat in the boardroom
6. Great work-life balance6. Low job security
7. HR managers can work in any industry7. It can be very stressful

Should You Become an HR Manager?

Despite the disadvantages, this is actually quite a rewarding job and will provide you with a sense of purpose as well as a lot of job satisfaction.

If you are a skilled negotiator, an excellent communicator, and work well with people from all walks of life, then this may be the ideal job for you.

Jamie Willis