12 Rewarding Reasons to Work in HR
Let’s face it, human resources (HR) isn’t often perceived to be the most glamorous department within a company. After all, one of the most prominent examples of an HR professional in popular culture brings to mind the fictional struggle between Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson of The Office®. Despite Toby’s general competence for much of the show, he’s not much of an aspirational figure to point to when someone asks, “Why work in HR?”
Fortunately, the human resources field has a lot more going for it than a television character. To prove this, we combined government data with expert insight from HR professionals to identify some of the top reasons why human resources is a good career.
12 Reasons why working in HR can be a good career choice
There are many advantages of pursuing a career in human resources. Keep reading to hear about a few of the perks, straight from the experts themselves.
1. You’ll be in a position of influence
HR professionals have a unique perspective into the businesses they work for due to the nature of their jobs. Not only do they have a strong understanding of an organization’s priorities and challenges, but they also have the ability to influence the future of the company based on the employment decisions they make.
2. You’ll have the potential to earn an above-average salary
The work of HR professionals is key to any organization, so it’s no surprise that they’re compensated appropriately. The median annual salary for human resources specialists in 2020 was $63,490, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 To put that into perspective, the 2020 median annual salary for all occupations was $41,950.1
There’s also plenty of room to increase that figure if you work your way up the corporate ladder. For example, advancing into an HR management position could result in a substantial boost in earning potential—with the BLS reporting a 2020 median annual salary of $121,220 for human resources managers.1
3. You’ll have the chance to change lives
A great HR professional can have a profoundly positive impact on people just by clocking in each day. The daily duties of the job make employee welfare and happiness a matter of professional responsibility.
There are countless examples of ways HR professionals have a hand in helping those in need: hiring someone who’s in danger of losing a home, providing health insurance or tuition reimbursement to someone who’s never had it before, or arranging job training that will give employees transferable skills no matter where they work. HR professionals have the ability to advocate for policies that can truly change an employee’s life.
4. You’ll have some significant staying power
Technology and automation can change an industry rapidly. Yet HR appears to be well situated for withstanding technological displacement. It’s true that human resources information systems (HRIS) have automated some of the duties of HR generalists, but there is a large element to HR careers that would be extremely difficult to automate.
“Software takes the ‘human’ out of human resources,” says Lynda Spiegel, an HR veteran and career coach. Spiegel says the profession requires intuition and common sense, something technology just doesn’t have the capability of effectively emulating.
5. You can help develop the people around you
The work you do in HR goes a long way in the professional development of other employees. With tools like performance reviews and exit interviews, human resources professionals can collect valuable information that guides performance improvement plans. This ultimately provides you the rewarding opportunity to not just improve the organization as a whole but also the individual employees you work alongside.
6. The field is experiencing steady growth
The BLS projects employment of HR specialists to increase at a rate of seven percent through 2029, which is faster than average for all occupations. This career field, barring the unexpected, projects to be anchored on steady ground for years to come. Companies will continue needing recruiters, benefits specialists and other HR personnel as they grow. HR plays a fundamental role in a business’s operations, and that doesn’t appear likely to change any time soon.
7. You’ll feel gratification from solving problems
Do you ever feel like you see trouble coming before everyone else does? In this position, spotting and addressing a problem area is going to pay off. HR pros are on the frontlines of employee problem-solving. Because of this, they have the opportunity to smooth out organizational kinks before they become company-wide knots.
“It’s really gratifying to see employees go from being frustrated because they’re having a problem with their manager to feeling productive and appreciated,” Speigel says.
8. You’ll get to welcome the rookies
“Onboarding is an often-overlooked aspect of HR that I always found satisfying,” Speigel says. “I love making new hires feel welcome and ready to join the team.”
The first day of any job can be daunting. There’s a host of new places, people and processes to learn. The job of many HR professionals revolves around developing a quality onboarding experience that will ease the stress of a new job and ensure they are set up for success.
9. Each workday will be different
You have to stay on your toes when you work in HR. One day, you may be helping an employee navigate changes to their health insurance, and the next, you could be dealing with the effects of new laws or regulations. Challenges like these can keep the work engaging, no matter how long you’re in the field.
10. You’ll get to guide others in their careers
Not every entry-level employee has a clear plan for the direction of their career. HR professionals have the opportunity to guide and, when appropriate, nudge employees toward pursuing new career opportunities.
“A lot of people think they know what they want but then figure out it doesn't go with their life goals,” says Janice Chaka, author and HR consultant. “As a mentor, I get to help them find what works for them.”
11. You’ll get to work with people
The term “human resources” obviously suggests you’ll be working with other humans—and that’s a big plus for many. The day-to-day duties of HR professionals constantly revolve around interacting with people, whether it’s conducting job interviews or assisting current employees with complaints or questions. If you thrive when working with others, you’ll have plenty of reason to enjoy the job.
12. You can help create a more diverse, equitable workplace
One of the most important roles of an HR professional is to carry out diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. From identifying bias in the hiring process to promoting the values of transparency and respect, you could help ensure people at your company feel seen, understood and supported. Not only is this important work for obvious reasons, but by improving the diversity of a workplace, you could actually help improve the productivity and problem-solving of all your employees.
Considering a career in human resources?
You now have a whole host of reasons why human resources is a good career to pursue. Could this be the right field for you?
If so, learn more about the skills, education and experience needed to get started by checking out our article “Everything You Need to Know About Working in Human Resources.”
And if you’re interested in what earning a degree in HR could look like, check out the Human Resources and Organizational Leadership programs at Rasmussen University.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed June, 2021] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
The Office is a registered trademark of Universal Entertainment.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2012. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.