what is an HR manager?

Human resources (HR) managers contribute to the success of a business by handling issues related to employees and maximizing their value in a company. In your HR manager role, you recruit new employees and manage workers to ensure they become valuable assets to your employer. Aside from performance management, you also handle the training and development of all the staff in the company.

To do an excellent job, you focus on individual employee needs and the work environment. For instance, ensuring workers have a conducive work environment is vital to boost productivity. Aside from supporting the company's staff, your role entails dealing with uncomfortable aspects of employment. You handle human resource violations, laying off workers and disciplining employees.

Your specific responsibilities vary depending on the size of the company. Small businesses usually have one HR manager to cover all the roles, while in a large company, you are likely to handle one aspect of employee management.

Would working as an HR manager suit your people skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an HR manager role.

HR manager jobs

average HR manager salary

According to Job Bank, the average salary of an HR manager in Canada is $112,464 per year, which is close to $60 an hour. When you first start your career, you begin with an annual salary of $82,508. With experience, your earnings increase gradually. In a senior-level position, you make over $173,902 per year.

what factors affect the salary of an HR manager?

Your salary mainly depends on experience and qualifications. When you have minimal experience, you are likely to start with a lower salary. Your earnings gradually increase as you gain experience and improve your human resources skills. Having additional qualifications boosts your earnings. For instance, having a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) certificate showcases your expertise and increases your salary potential.

Aside from your experience, external factors like company size or industry can affect your earnings. When you work in a small company, you are likely to earn a lower salary. Small companies have limited resources and sometimes cannot afford to pay HR managers a competitive salary. Working in large companies improves your earning potential since you are in charge of a large number of employees. Large companies also tend to have more resources and require additional expertise for complex human resources needs.

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types of HR managers

In a small business, you handle all HR tasks alone, but in a large company, you focus on one of the following areas as an HR manager:

  • Employee relations: the responsibility of a labour relations HR manager is to oversee employment policies and ensure the company complies with the legislation in union and non-union settings. You coordinate grievances and handle labour complaints affecting the organization. Labour relations also involve negotiating contracts, including wages and benefits.
  • Job placement specialist: when you are in charge of job placements in the human resources department, you match skills with job roles. The process starts with recruiting and selecting the best candidates for a position. When promoting workers, you use the performance management details to promote employees according to their expertise.
  • Compensation and benefits: your primary role is to ensure employees are compensated for their services. You also ensure your employer keeps up with workers' health insurance payments and the vital benefits required by the law.
woman smiling while looking away from laptop
woman smiling while looking away from laptop

working as an HR manager

If you have a knack for recognizing talent and managing large teams, you will enjoy working as an HR manager. Dive into the duties, responsibilities and career opportunities in the role.


HR manager skills and education

The educational requirements of an HR manager include:

  • Education: to work as an HR manager in Canada, you require a bachelor’s degree in any field related to HR, such as business management, commerce or human resources. Credentials in sociology or psychology may also be useful for the role.
  • Certifications and experience: aside from a bachelor's degree, having professional certifications will improve your HR skills. Pursue certification and become a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR). You can also advance to senior HR roles by acquiring a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certificate.

competencies and characteristics of HR managers

Aside from academic qualifications, you need exemplary technical and soft skills to become an HR manager. Some of the skills include:

  • Communication skills: you require excellent communication skills since you link the company with the best talent in the industry. Your communication ability will help you provide clear instructions to employees and report the progress in your department to stakeholders. Knowledge of various modes of communication is crucial to your success and promotes transparency.
  • Administrative expertise: since your role involves scheduling and filing, good administrative skills help you manage your tasks more efficiently. You should organize your tasks to avoid missing deadlines and forgetting important details.
  • Proactive: if you are not proactive, you will miss red flags and signs of problems until they escalate. You should pick up employee issues as they arise and deal with them promptly. With proactiveness, you can keep up with emerging work culture and technology trends.
  • Coaching skills: employee training and development ensures growth and motivates workers. You need coaching skills to train employees and organize workshops for professional development. The skills are also helpful for onboarding.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an HR manager.


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