Human Resource Management isn't the most well-known degree in the UK, but it does have the distinction of being a degree that most people study while already at work. Most companies require people to have an Human Resources degree before they apply for any HR Management jobs.
What is Human Resource Management?
Human Resource Management focuses on the management of employees and the company structure. HR Managers, HR Directors or any other careers in Human Resources or HRM jobs will all focus on ensuring that the company’s rules are upheld, that employees are respectful of one another and that the company itself acts in a responsible and ethical manner.
An HR degree will teach students how to interact with employees and how to ensure that all parties get a fair side of an agreement, much like arbitration. A lot of HR is practical and also requires a lot of thinking on your feet, and if you are able to do that, then HR might be the perfect degree for you.
A lot of HR degrees are undertaken while students are still in work. This is not always the case, but it is quite common, especially for mature students, these degrees allow students to combine their current on-the-job experiences with a degree. It’s also fairly common for it to be studied as part of a joint honours degree.
What can I do with a Human Resource Management degree?
An HR UK degree seems, on the surface, to be a fairly limited degree, that means you can only get a job in one area, or that a degree in Human Resources may hold you back, but nothing could be further from the truth! There are in fact, many Human Resource Management jobs.
Interpersonal skills will be a huge part of working in HR and this degree will look to enhance those, perhaps more than any.
The most obvious HRM careers to follow upon completing any HR degrees is to become a Human Resources Officer. An HR Officer is someone who advises on policies and implements them within the company. An HR Officer is usually concerned with the training of new staff as well, which can be anything from running a training seminar for a day or to holding an entire week’s worth of training. An HR Officer is also responsible for the training and upskilling of the current staff as well. HR representatives will also represent employees in disciplinary matters or salary negotiations and will also handle most recruitment issues too.
Another job that is open to those with a degree in HR is an Arbitrator. An Arbitrator (sometimes known as an Arbiter in America) is someone who is an expert in crisis resolution. They are an impartial third party in a legal dispute outside of court. The good thing about an Arbitrator, is that their decision is considered final, and both parties must agree to the outcome. An HR degree is a perfect degree to have to have this job as it encompasses so much of what is taught on an HR degree. A Law degree is also useful for a job as an Arbitrator too.
An Office Manager is another career that is benefited more by Human Resource Management courses. An Office Manager is someone who manages the general day-to-day operations of an office and specialises in management and streamlining. An Office Manager will likely be responsible for the office budget for supplies and improvements as well. With an HR degree, you will have a lot of experience for helping team members, especially during times of conflict. An Human Resource Management degree especially plays into the specific playset needed for this job.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment for a HR Management degree is mainly theoretical, although there are some practical elements involved as well.
Assignments, essays, dissertations and exams are the most common ways to be assessed for an HR degree. Though there are practical elements, the theoretical approach is far more important for students, as many of the people who study these degrees are still at work.
What skills will I learn?
An HR degree will give you a number of key skills and improve the ones you have.
Writing and communication skills are both important to students and are just as important in the workplace too. Communicating your ideas is very important in Human Resources management courses and the workplace as is communicating the company’s message, goals and general ethos, so speaking to new staff and training them to the company’s values and ethics is essential, especially if you do work as an Arbitrator.
An Arbitrator (sometimes known as an Arbiter in America) is someone who is an expert in crisis resolution.
Interpersonal skills will be a huge part of working in HR and this degree will look to enhance those, perhaps more than any. As an HR representative and as someone who is responsible for the wellbeing of employees, being able to connect with people and empathise with them on a deeper level is very very important, especially since you will likely have to deal with upset or disgruntled employees quite often in the world of HR.
Negotiation skills are other types of skills that will be enhanced too. With HR and as an Arbitrator, negotiation towards fairness, or as close to it as you can get, is mandatory. Negotiation skills are essential in your everyday life as well, especially when trying to buy a house or trying to negotiate a deal for a car etc, so these will come in handy in all walks of life.
Will an HR degree get me a job?
As with all degrees, there are no guarantees, especially when it comes to the workplace, however, an HR degree is such a niche qualification and so essential for the area you're looking to work in, that it would be difficult to see how you wouldn’t find a job as a result of having an HR degree or studying a Human Resource Management course.
Human Resource Management focuses on the management of employees and the company structure.
It may not necessarily be in HR, you may find work as an Office Manager, an Arbitrator, a Careers Advisor, an Occupational Psychologist or even as a Training and Development Officer.