A human resources assistant, also called an HR assistant, acts as a liaison between an employer and its employees. HR assistants are often the first point of contact for people applying for work at an organization. Read on for more information about the HR assistant job description, duties, qualifications, training, skills, and working hours. This article will also discuss future job prospects for HR assistants.
Job Overview: What Does an HR Assistant Do?
HR assistants are responsible for maintaining employee records. They handle employee contact information and data related to employee benefits, such as health insurance information and employee retirement plans. The typical HR assistant job description involves standard daytime business hours Monday through Friday, though some weekend work may be required, depending on the employer. They generally work in a business environment, and most entry-level positions don’t require a degree or certification.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pay rate for HR assistants varies depending on the industry and employer. In 2016, it was reported that HR assistants, with the exception of those who process payroll and timekeeping, made between $12.43 and $27.13 hourly. The median pay for HR specialists was $28.45 per hour for those who process payroll and benefits.
HR Assistant Job Duties
Some large businesses employ multiple HR personnel staff. In such environments, an HR assistant might help the HR specialist perform day-to-day tasks. However, many smaller businesses might have only one HR person responsible for all employee timekeeping and benefits information. Depending on the employer, HR assistants might be responsible for all or some of the following:
- Screen job applications.
- Coordinate orientation.
- Process new hire paperwork.
- Keep time and attendance records.
- Maintain employee information in regards to W-2 tax forms, contact information, and employment status changes.
- Keep all employee information confidential.
- Act as point of contact for employees regarding questions about their benefits.
- Follow all government regulations in regards to employment practices.
HR Assistant Job Essential Skills
Organizational Skills. Good HR assistants should maintain a well-organized office, as they must keep track of all payroll paperwork, employee contact information, and other work-related forms. To do this, HR assistants must be able to manage files electronically, as well as maintain paper files.
Communication Skills. HR assistants write job postings, screen applications, and schedule interviews, all of which require communication skills. They must also be able to answer employee questions concerning benefits.
Integrity. Though integrity may not be described as a skill, it is certainly a quality found in the best HR workers. Because HR assistants handle sensitive employee info, such as social security numbers, they must be discreet and honest enough to keep records confidential. An honest and professional HR assistant will also set a good example for other workers.
Becoming an HR Assistant
It is not necessary to earn a college degree to become an HR assistant. However, some workers earn a degree in human resources before entering the profession, and some employers require the degree. Other workers get their start by completing an internship or learning on the job.
In general, HR assistant positions are entry-level, and to become a specialist generally requires years of professional experience. Specialists often enter their positions with an undergraduate degree in human resources.
Qualifications and Training
Many people who begin work as an HR assistant do not have any specific training or prior experience. However, most positions do require at least a high school diploma or GED. Some workers become HR assistants after completing either a 2-year or a 4-year degree in human resources management. At most schools, this requires students to complete courses in business management and accounting. These courses teach students about business ethics, payroll management, and business communication.
Like most business jobs, many job listings for HR assistants may not require a degree, but one is desirable in order to be competitive. Regardless of whether or not an entry-level HR assistant obtains a college degree, much of the job tasks are learned on the job. This is because the payroll software and company policies may vary depending on the employer.
This requires the HR assistant to be flexible and learn the procedures put in place by the employer. Some employers encourage their HR staff to continue to learn new software and procedures by sending them to professional development seminars.
Many HR assistants begin working in the field with little work experience in human resources. However, it is best that job candidates have at least some experience working in a business environment. This experience might include working as an administrative assistant, office clerk, or accounting clerk.
Some workers intern in human resources while studying toward a business management degree or human resources management degree. These students learn the day-to-day tasks of an HR assistant while earning a degree, which gives them experience for their resumes, as well as networking opportunities.
Most HR assistants work in a business office environment. They generally work normal business hours, which means daytime weekday hours. However, in rare cases, an HR assistant might have to work weekends. HR assistants typically work 40 hours weekly, though overtime may be required in rare cases.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists two categories of human resources workers: HR specialists and HR assistants. The salary listed for HR assistants is for those who do not process payroll and timekeeping, and the salary has a mean hourly wage of $19.28. The mean hourly wage for specialists is listed at $28.45, with the median annual wage listed at $59,180.
The growth rate for specialists is 5% through 2024, which means that the job growth in HR is expected to increase as much as the average for other job fields. Most of the new jobs in HR will be added in the employment services field.
HR assistants enjoy a certain amount of job stability, and this is because most businesses employ office staff to process payroll and manage employee benefits packages. There is also some potential for advancement, particularly for those who enter the field at entry-level and hope to become specialists. The pay and the HR assistant job description are ideal for many people who wish to work in an office environment.