Human Resources

Links to other majors

Possible Career Options

  • Compensation Specialist:
    A compensation specialist ensures that an organization’s pay system is compatible with the broader labour market, and also that there is a sensible relationship between pay and job characteristics. This specialist will evaluate various jobs to assess their importance and difficulty, so that each job is paid appropriately. A compensation specialist is also responsible for ensuring that the organization’s pay system is in compliance with labour standards and pay equity legislation. In addition, such individuals may be responsible for the overall administration of performance appraisal systems and designing performance-based compensation.
     
  • Director of Industrial Relations:
    This is a senior management position in a unionized organization. A person might aspire to this position after building a career in a more specialized area. Such a manager oversees industrial relations, negotiates collective bargaining agreements, coordinates grievance procedures to handle complaints, and supervises other staff members.

  • Director of Personnel/Human Resource Management:
    The Director of Personnel/Human Resource Management (P/HRM) is a senior management position, to which a person might aspire after building a career in a more specialized area. The director may oversee staff in various specialties such as recruiting, compensation, employment equity compliance, job analysis, and training.

  • Employment Equity Specialist:
    An employment equity specialist ensures that the organization treats women and people from minority groups in a fair and equitable manner. This person investigates equity-related complaints, including sexual harassment, compiles data for employment equity reports, and ensures the organization is complying with all aspects of employment equity laws. In addition, the employment equity specialist ensures that the organizational atmosphere is hospitable for women and people from minority groups. In some organizations, this person is responsible for leading employee training on topics related to employee diversity.

  • Employment Specialist/Recruiter:
    These specialists oversee the recruiting, interviewing, testing, and selection of employees. In some organizations, they may travel extensively to university campuses to conduct interviews. They have the responsibility of designing a combination of tests, interviews, and other selection devices that have a proven ability to predict how a person will perform the job if hired. In addition, they must be knowledgeable about human rights and employment equity guidelines and legislation.

  • Human Resource Information System Specialist:
    These specialists ensure that the organization has smoothly functioning software to process all HR-related data. Those seeking a career in this area need a firm grounding in information systems as well as HR.

  • Industrial Relations Specialist/Manager:
    Industrial relations managers and their staff oversee collective agreements with labour unions and ensure that the agreements are implemented appropriately. When a collective bargaining agreement is opened for negotiation, industrial relations specialists ensure that management negotiators are well-prepared and have the necessary information available. Managers in this area must be thoroughly familiar with labour law and comfortable working with economic data.

  • Job Analyst:
    The job analyst interviews job-holders and their supervisors to determine exactly what duties and responsibilities a particular position entails, and what training and experience are necessary to hold that position. The job analyst then writes a job description, which becomes the basis of employee selection, promotions, performance appraisal, and discipline procedures. The work of the job analyst might play a pivotal role in any legal proceedings arising from contentious HR decisions.

  • Mediator:
    In negotiations between unions and management, mediators act as neutral parties to resolve disputes over labour agreements and other industrial relations issues. Mediators are employed by provincial and federal labour relations boards, or occasionally they are employed by consulting firms who offer their services on a contractual basis.

  • Negotiator/Advisor Within a Labour Union:
    Unions need specialists who engage in negotiations with employers regarding collective agreements. In some situations this person will directly negotiate with the employer, while in other instances he/she will act as an advisor to those who are negotiating on behalf of the union.

  • Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Specialist:
    The responsibility of this specialist is to ensure that the workplace is safe. This person is expected to be an expert in all areas of workplace safety practices, in order to prevent accidents and investigate any accidents that do occur. Traditionally such specialists focused on accidents in factories and mines; however increasingly, there is a growing awareness that workplace safety includes ergonomics, keyboard-related muscle strain, poorly ventilated offices, workplace stress, and a wide array of other workplace issues.

  • Outplacement Specialist:
    Such specialists advise an organization about how to layoff or terminate employees, and they also provide career counselling to those who have lost their jobs. Outplacement specialists almost always work for consulting firms, who provide their services to various employers on a contract basis.

  • Personnel/Human Resources Management Generalist:
    In smaller organizations, the various functions described in this list may be performed by a single individual who is responsible for all aspects of Personnel/Human Resource Management (P/HRM).

  • Professor:
    A professor works in a university and has the dual responsibilities of teaching students and conducting research. In addition, many professors have administrative responsibilities. This position requires a Masters degree followed by a PhD in the relevant specialized area.

  • Researcher Within a Labour Union:
    Unions need specialized support staff who conduct research regarding compensation, industry trends, economic data, and information about agreements negotiated by other unions.

  • Training Specialist:
    A training specialist has responsibility over the various training and development programs offered to employees. In some instances, the training specialist will conduct the training personally, as in the case of new employee orientation, but more frequently this person will be responsible for selecting experienced trainers from outside the organization to present courses on a contractual basis. The training specialist then evaluates the work of those outside experts to ensure that the training met the appropriate objectives. As well, many training specialists work for independent consulting firms.

  • Organizational Development Specialist:
    An organizational development specialist will either work as an internal or external consultant to the organization. The specialist often has a background in training. Depending on the experience of the specialist, tasks range from spearheading interventions to improve organizational culture to facilitating the resolution of conflict in a department. The skill set will include presentation, networking, facilitation and strong interpersonal skills. A graduate degree is desirable.

Professional Associations and Organizations

  • CPHR Canada
    CPHR Canada represents members in the human resources profssion across nine provinces and three territories in Canada. The Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation is a nationally recognized level of achievement within the field of human resources.
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
    The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is Canada's national resource for the advancement of workplace health and safety. They provide information specifically for those getting ready to join the world of work.
  • Canadian Industrial Relations Association
    The Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) is a diverse network of people from across Canada and around the world interested in promoting research, discussion and education in the field of work, labour, employment and industrial relations. Student memberships are available (at a reduced rate). Members receive a free subscription to the world’s first academic journal in industrial relations and includes articles of high quality on all aspects of the world of work, reviews of significant books in the field, and a bibliography of recent articles published throughout the field worldwide. Members receive a substantial registration discount to the annual CIRA conference, eligibility for awards including the Allen Ponak Best Student Paper Award and have the opportunity to meet others who share your interests in the field, including top academics, practitioners and graduate students. Past conferences have featured graduate student forums, lively discussions, social gatherings and the presentation of the latest research in the field. View their job board to see current openings in the industry.
  • Canadian Labour Congress
    The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils. Check out their job board for current openings in the industry.
  • Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Saskatchewan
    The Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Saskatchewan is the professional association for human resource professionals. ing body within the Province of Saskatchewan. Student memberships are available to those registered full-time in a post-secondary program of studies leading to a certificate, diploma, or degree with specialization in any functional area of Human Resources Management and who is not employed in a human resources functional area on a full-time basis.