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HR Director Vs HR Manager

HR directors and HR managers work in human resources and address staff-related matters for companies. Although the specific tasks of these professionals may be comparable at times, some of the ways these careers differ are explored here.

Comparing HR Directors to HR Managers

Human resources directors and managers often work closely together. In smaller companies, these careers may overlap with little distinction, but in larger companies their roles are more clearly defined. HR directors may be hired as the creative force that will establish a company's HR goals, policies and strategies, while managers may concentrate on a specific branch of human resources, such as hiring or training staff.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook**
HR Directors Bachelor's Degree $85,815 6% (for all top executives 2014-2014)
HR Managers Bachelor's Degree $64,700 9% (for HR managers 2016-2026)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of HR Directors vs. HR Managers

There are a lot of areas where the duties that HR directors and HR managers perform can overlap. In some cases, either directors or managers may be involved in reviewing applications for positions and interviewing candidates. They may also both be involved in making decisions about who is hired. HR directors are typically executive positions, and they work with budgets and may be involved with determining the salary range for specific positions. HR managers can oversee a specific department, such as payroll, benefit plans or employee training. HR directors can help set the tone for an HR department as a whole by establishing priorities and policies. Paperwork can be a big part of the work that HR directors and HR managers do, and they may need to fill out forms or keep files related to the specific branches of human resources they work in.

HR Directors

It may be possible to become an HR director with a bachelor's degree, but some positions may require applicants to have a master's degree as well as several years of experience in human resources. HR directors need to be aware of applicable labor laws and ensure that their company is acting in accordance with the law. These human resources professionals may serve as the practical visionaries for their company and help establish the direction for their company's HR department. Some HR directors are more involved with overseeing other HR staff and provide direction in a number of areas. Leadership skills are important in this field of work, and HR directors also need to have good people skills.

Job responsibilities of as HR director include:

  • Planning and directing company programs
  • Supervising all HR departments
  • Reviewing HR practices to ensure consistency
  • Identifying strategies to address HR issues
  • Establishing salaries and benefits for employees

HR Managers

Human resources managers are professionals who form a bridge between employees and administrators. They may work closely with their company's executives and report to them while taking actions that directly affect company employees. In smaller companies, they could manage an entire HR department, though larger companies can have multiple HR managers for each HR department. The minimum level of education required is a bachelor's degree. Before becoming an HR manager, applicants must have spent several years working in this field in a non-managerial role to gain practical experience. Professional certification and a master's degree may also increase job prospects for aspiring HR managers.

Job responsibilities of an HR Manager include:

  • Administering health and safety training
  • Creating incentives to help retain staff
  • Mediating disputes between staff and management
  • Addressing discipline issues
  • Negotiating contracts

Related Careers

The work that HR directors and HR managers do is closely related, so those considering either profession may be interested in similar career alternatives. They may decide they want to specialize as a labor relations specialist, because labor relations specialists work in HR departments but concentrate specifically on addressing disputes and determining staff salaries and benefits. Another option would be to become a career counselor and help people find the type of employment opportunities that they are suited to.

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