Like many industries, human resources management is riding a wave of change.
But fear not, future HR managers of the world – unlike many other sectors, the robots aren't about to take over. In fact, the field of human resources is predicted to grow steadily.
According to projections by the Australian Government's Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, the number of HR manager jobs is set to jump 12.8% in the five years to May 2023. And jobs across the profession are forecast to increase by 10.8%.
Why HR managers are in hot demand
The role of today's HR manager goes well beyond hiring and firing. With the world changing rapidly due to globalisation, digitalisation and other social shifts, HR professionals need to be agile thinkers who are not only good at dealing with employees – but can also make clear-cut financial decisions.
Deakin's Dr Justine Ferrer, director of teaching and senior lecturer in human resource management, says HR managers can now be important strategic players within a business or organisation.
'HR practitioners today need to get beyond functional thinking,' she says. 'They have to be able to visualise the overall contribution of HR to an organisation's strategic goals and the bottom line.
'Talented HR leaders have their finger on the pulse; they know about the next big thing before anyone else, can guide and support their organisations in how to respond.'
Emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, also means successful HR managers must be able to interpret data, forecast change and make decisions for future trends, Dr Ferrer says.
Modern HR managers are not only in hot demand – they will also be paid handsomely for their unique set of skills.
According to a 2018 report on the industry by Deloitte Access Economics, the salary for HR professionals with postgraduate qualifications is forecast to hit around $160,000 by 2021-22.
Businesses and organisations can't exist without HR managers
Amid rapid and disruptive change across industries, HR managers are more crucial than ever because they're at the coalface of the fast-changing world of work, says Dr Huw Flatau-Harrison, a lecturer in human resource management at Deakin.
And that's relevant from the smallest start-up to multinational corporations.
The variety of skills needed by a HR manager – including decision making, trends forecasting, sourcing talent and keeping up with changes in the law and regulatory frameworks – means it's definitely not a job that can be replaced by artificial intelligence, he says.
'The fact that you still have that need to have someone in there that can have that interpersonal relationship, and that kind of skillset, means that it's one of those jobs that’s still going very well and even growing, because it's not being taken over by the robots, so to speak.'
Studying a Master of Human Resource Management at Deakin
Dr Flatau-Harrison says some students in the Master of Human Resource Management will already be working in the industry – either as a HR manager or HR practitioner – but want to upskill, specialise in a particular area of human resources or build their industry connections.
The course also appeals to people working in senior management whose role requires them to take on responsibilities in HR development and management.
Taught by those with industry experience, students will become 'future ready' and learn highly practical skills such as employment relations, human resource strategy, leadership and management development. You can also choose an elective from a key business discipline, such as marketing, management, accounting, economics, finance and information systems.
Depending on your professional experience and previous qualifications, the Master of Human Resource Management typically takes one to 1.5 years to complete, and is studied online.
Dr Flatau-Harrison says the job opportunities at the end of the course are vast, and you could find yourself working anywhere from a small to medium-sized business to a university, a 'Big 4' bank, or a global firm.
More reasons why a HR career is a sustainable career choice
The role of a HR manager has become much more complex in recent times, and is often seen as a direct path to the board level of a company of organisation.
'Because HR managers are now fundamentally involved in strategy, which wasn't necessarily always the case, they have the capacity to put a word in the ear of a higher executive,' Dr Flatau-Harrison says. 'So they're seen as playing on that field a lot more.'
And while globalisation and technology shifts are killing off many jobs in other industries, it’s only increasing the demands for HR managers.
'The fact that people are working across a lot of different national cultures or organisational cultures and people move around a lot more means that a lot more focus has to be made on how you can bring people into an organisation and get the best out of them quickly,' Dr Flatau-Harrison says.
Thinking about enhancing your career in the HR industry? Our Master in Human Resource Management could be for you.