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HR has risen in esteem both publicly and within the organization over the last few years, and most notably during the 2020 pandemic year, as HR departments were called upon to help employers and employees weather the storm. HR is increasingly recognized for the vitally important business function that it is. With that in mind, below are 5 HR specializations, why employers like them so much, and why they will continue to hold value in the labour market. 

Compensation and Benefits

HR professionals are responsible for developing, executing and managing a company’s rewards and benefits offerings and packages. This includes, but is not limited to, bonuses, pensions, salaries, medical insurance, among others. In order to work as a compensation and benefits specialist, an HR professional would need a bachelor’s degree in human resources as well as at least five years of on-the-job experience. Starting salaries are good, as are job security and career prospects. 

Because of the substantial education and field experience required to advertise oneself as a compensation and benefits specialist on his or her resume, employers are always happy to see this specialization. Administering benefits and compensation is an integral part of keeping current employees happy and engaged with their work and is crucial to attracting top talent who are eager to work for employers who take care of them and their needs. 

Employee Assistance

HR specialists whose job it is to improve employee safety and well-being, including making positive changes to work-life balance, are sometimes referred to as “managers of work,” “employee welfare managers” and even “work-life managers.” They are tasked with looking after the company’s occupational safety programs, workplace health standards and practices, health and well-being plans for employees, mental health services, and medical examinations.

To work as an employee assistance professional, applicants need at least a bachelor’s degree in HR, and very often a master’s in HR management. Many companies, like the compensation and benefits specialization, also require at least five years of HR experience. Employee experience and the mental and physical well-being of workers has always been taken seriously by organizations, though to widely varying degrees. The 2020 pandemic, however, brought these needs and conversations much more to the forefront and amplified the importance of HR professionals with employee assistance experience and knowledge. 

Recruitment and Placement 

Recruitment and placement professionals, or employment, recruitment and placement specialists, are often just referred to shorthand as “recruiters.” Their job is to find and recruit workers, and they can be employed by the companies themselves, by larger recruiting firms or sometimes even work independently. A recruiter’s work also often involves going to job fairs and networking events to find good fits for the roles they are looking to fill, and they may even play a role in evaluating candidates and checking their references. In order to work as a recruiter, it is generally expected that you have either a bachelor’s degree in management and/or psychology. 

Recruiting has changed dramatically in the post-pandemic world, opening up new doors for recruitment specialists while helping them further consolidate their indispensability for and within modern organizations. A good recruiter can have a large impact on the fortunes of a company, utilizing their industry experience and connections to find the right candidates for each role–especially executive ones. 

Development 

Another theme that was widely talked about during the pandemic was professional development. HR employees are increasingly being called upon to help do things like identify skills gaps and shortages within the organization and use employee data–from interviews, performance reviews and resumes–to find the relevant human capital to allocate to fill these gaps and shortages. 

Because the pandemic, and digital transformation more broadly, has had such an upending effect on the labour market and workplaces, HR professionals with development credentials are sought out to be integral parts of companies’ talent retention and skills-building initiative. These efforts will have a major bearing on how well businesses are able to weather disruption and digital transformation. 

Diversity and Inclusion 

Diversity and inclusion specializations are on the rise in business management schools and are increasingly requested in HR job postings around the world. The social and political pressure on organizations to adopt and implement social justice-related policies means that employers are placing a high value on HR professionals who are able to help them navigate these increasingly fraught conversations and issues as well as make real changes to how they hire, treat and promote their human capital. 

Diversity and inclusions specializations are available from a growing number of accredited four-year institutions, as well as from online certification providers. Having HR professionals with this education and know-how on your team is good for employee management, PR and also morale, as D&I experts are actively engaged in helping make the workplace a more equitable and inclusive place for all employees. 

Conclusion 

Both the public profile and organizational significance of the HR department has grown considerably over the last year. To many, it is long overdue recognition, from both the public and the C-suite, of the integral role that HR departments have always played in all of the above realms.

Regardless, what is undoubtedly true is that HR professionals, and especially specialists, are increasingly sought out and highly valued for both the soft and hard skills they bring to the table. Keep the above HR specializations in mind when contemplating your business administration education and set yourself up for a successful career with great upward mobility and job security.