Human Resource Specialists – Foundation of HR

by Ainoura Oussenbec

May 3, 2018

Human resource specialists (HRS) are also called recruiters, as their primary duties in the human resource (HR) area are to screen, recruit, interview, and place workers in the right positions. Other HR jobs may specialize in compensation, benefits, or employee training. HRS are on the front line of HR, selecting the right people for the right jobs.

The Rogue Valley has an estimated 279 human resource specialists. The 2014 to 2024 forecast for this occupation in Jackson and Josephine counties is a modest increase of only 5.7 percent, compared with 13.7 percent in the Portland Metro area. As about half of Oregon’s businesses and jobs are located in the larger Portland area, the need for human resource specialists is that much greater. Another possible reason for the slow growth expectation is that the Rogue Valley is a region of mostly small businesses. In small businesses, human resource positions tend to be “multi-taskers” or “generalists” doing all HR related duties as needed. Fewer local companies can afford, or need, to have HR specialists focusing mostly on recruiting.

A typical entry level of education for human resource specialists is a bachelor’s degree. The average wages for this occupational group vary from $25.22 in the Rogue Valley, to $29.20 in Oregon and more than $31 per hour in the Portland Tri-County area.

The Human Resource Field Is Changing

Many jobs and careers are being challenged and changed by new technology and evolving business practices. Some key HR related functions, such as payroll and benefits administration, have been simplified by many available software applications. In addition, HR functions have been steadily outsourced, not necessarily out of the country but to the U.S. companies who specialize in full spectrum human resource management. Such companies can assist businesses with tracking and data processing such as payroll, benefits, as well as with employee recruiting and training. Today many employers tend to use cost effective external sources for their staff development needs, such as webinars led by external trainers and consultants.

In the area of recruitment, most businesses still prefer to keep this key function in-house. However, businesses also use the services of staffing or recruiting agencies, especially for hiring and managing of seasonal workforce or in search for high-level executive or professional talent.

Expertise in Human Resources Will Remain Crucial

Some of the trends foreseen in the HR literature state that in future:

  • In-house HR will downsize and outsourcing will increase. As the employment landscape becomes more complex with changing regulations around employment law, it is impossible for limited in-house staff to remain experts in “all fields.” Utilizing HR consulting firms and other external resources will be more common.
  • Strategic thinking will become in-house HR’s new core competence. Instead of focusing on just technical aspects of recruiting, tracking, data processing, or legal compliance, the in-house HR specialists/experts have to become a part of business leadership.
  • HR recruiting will need to become more like marketing. The human resource specialists of the future will need to identify specific micro-segments of job seekers in line with the company’s job requirements and goals. HRS then have to target such selected job seekers with recruitment messages and practices, just like a marketing firm would.
  • If human resource specialists truly become human capital experts, not just human resource bookkeepers, their role in business will remain crucial, regardless of technology, automation, and outsourcing.

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