Human resources is where top talent is found, hired, and cultivated — gone are the days of pigeonholing HR as nagging paper pushers. Today, HR is increasingly one of the most important functions in every organization, and increasingly a powerfully strategic career in its own right, with more and more highly skilled talent pouring into the field and driving up salaries and demand. Here are three reasons to consider a career in human resources (or ‘People Ops’, as coined by Google’s Laszlo Bock in 1997):
Human resources is increasingly becoming a specialized field, covering many different areas, such as recruiting, talent sourcing and acquisition, benefits and compensation, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion. Moreover, specialization is also possible (and increasingly important) when it comes to the kind of talent HR is sourcing, hiring, and managing — i.e., engineers and technical talent, executive leadership, etc. Additionally, the HR function of a business is vital to every organization, and CEOs are increasingly placing as much importance on organizational debt as they are on technical debt. This (relatively) newfound seat at the table is subsequently driving up salaries and demand for talent; according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR managers made nearly $104,500 a year on average in 2015, and the job outlook for 2024 is growing faster than most other industries. Ironically, per CareerBuilder data, recruiters are one of the hardest positions to recruit, with a 23 hiring indicator (on a scale of 1 being the hardest to hire and 100 being the easiest).
As an HR professional, you will have the opportunity to influence the direction the company is going. The talent human resources professionals recruit and ultimately hire can determine the success — or failure — of a company. HR professionals have an unparalleled perspective within the organization because they understand the business’ need from a holistic, people-first point of view. HR professionals partner with leadership to determine the hiring plan, provide recommendations on headcount, and are responsible for all interaction with potential hires, from the first phone call to new hire orientation (and beyond). Additionally, as an HR professional, you even have the power to influence the development of leaders within the company by surfacing growth opportunities for key players, and partner with managers to empower and retain your best people. In Silicon Valley, HR and people leaders are increasingly joining the C-Suite, headlining conferences, and influencing work culture on a global level.
If you work in HR, you work in ‘people’ — and it goes without saying that networking, and meeting new and interesting talent, is the most important part of your job. As an HR professional, you’ll have ample opportunities to change the lives every individual you interact with, from placing people in career-defining roles, connecting purpose-driven people with companies that will activate their passions and give them fulfilling work, and in cultivating a workplace culture of empowerment, inclusion, and inspiration. Additionally, HR leaders are often the most well-connected influencers in any industry, having interacted with thousands of potential new hires, managers, executives, and organizations. In the words of former Virgin CMO Porter Gale, “your network is your net worth.” By that logic, HR professionals are the richest profession in the world.