How to become an HR manager in Australia

How to become an HR manager in Australia

An HR manager has one of the most important positions in a company. The strategy of managing human resources can differ from company to company, but it remains clear that employees can make or break it. HR managers have the responsibility of creating, managing and implementing the right management approach. Their main task is to effectively organise the workforce, so that it can focus on the job and ultimately give the company competitive advantage.

Different segments of the job include recruitment, training, performance evaluation, administrative duties, as well as creating and implementing a rewards and recognition programme. An HR manager needs to be able to read people and evaluate whether they would be a good fit for the company and make hiring decisions. It is also their job to recognise that someone is under-performing or over-performing, and appropriately react in order to maximise satisfaction and the bottom line. 

HR professionals work with human capital of the company, ensuring that all employees are seen to, well-trained, helped and rewarded. They create and implement policies with the goal of achieving transparency and setting guidelines and boundaries. As they specialise in strategic management of the workforce, it is not uncommon for them to develop various types of long-term growth management programmes.

Do you have a good read on people? Or maybe you pride yourself in being able to balance two seemingly opposite things?  How would you feel about helping shape a company? If you find yourself loving HR, here's how you can get started on achieving your dream!

Step 1: Study Human Resource Management or Psychology 

Just like many other fields, formal education is a great way to get you started. While getting a degree in HRM would be optimal, there is also a number of related fields you can explore. Studying labour law would give you the knowledge necessary to perform all administrative tasks. Psychology would give you an insight into how people think and how to best manage their satisfaction levels in a work environment. Anything related to economy and management would give you valuable skills regarding business in general. 

At the end, it all depends on you and your set of interests. 

Step 2: Get Some Experience

It can be difficult to get started in any field and HR is no different. The best way to get experience is to volunteer in student organisations or NGOs. Most of these organisations have a fluid structure, meaning that volunteers can try their hand at different management segments. In order to get the experience you need, try your hand at recruitment activities. Typically, this includes promotion, selection and training of newcomers. It's a great way to get current and relevant skills.

Step 3: Get a HR Position

If you decide to skip the second step, don't be surprised if you're offered an HR assistant position. That's a typical start for many workers. Like with all other jobs, it's crucial for you to polish your resume and prepare for the interview. Be sure to ask all the relevant questions, as the size of the HR department usually determines your role and responsibilities. Once you get your dream job, onto the next step.

Step 4: Work on Yourself

The most important thing for an HR manager is to keep learning. To start with, there is a good number of networking events and seminars that will allow you to get the know-how from professionals. Asking the right question is key here, as an experienced HR manager can teach you anything from managing a difficult employee to dealing with the boss. Make your connections and build up your skills. Both your company and your workforce will thank you for it.

What Does an HR Manager Do?

To help you fully understand the scope of responsibilities, here's a breakdown of the role of an HR manager. First, the HR manager creates the employment strategy. This means they decide when the company will be hiring and what profile it will look for. Second, the manager will select potential candidates from a pool of applications. Third, they will conduct an interview to see if the employee is a good fit and decide on the hiring. Fourth, they will perform the on-boarding activities for new employees. These include introducing them to company culture and guidelines and providing them with proper training. Fifth, they will run occasional performance assessments to ensure employees are thriving. Additionally, they will create and implement a rewards and recognition strategy, with the goal of grooming the best and most satisfied workforce imaginable.


  • Creating and implementing human resources plans, strategies and policies
  • Creating and revising job descriptions
  • Overseeing recruitment, training and employee performance
  • Creating a rewards and recognition programme
  • Creating a company's evaluation programmes
  • Evaluating employee performance
  • Maintaining affirmative action programmes
  • Keeping employment records and reports
  • Conducting all administrative duties
  • Recommending new policies, strategies, programmes and procedures

Skills for Success

In order to become an excellent HR manager, you need to be an efficient middle manager. Your communication skills need to be superb and you need to know how to compromise. A good HR manager is a great psychologist. They are able to tell if the potential employee is the right fit for the position and the company, as well as how satisfied current employees are. You will need to have a strategic approach and think about the long-term development of your workforce. You need to have a passion for learning and understanding people. 

Skills & Attributes

  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility and creativity
  • Ability to see the bigger picture
  • Strategic approach
  • Customer service skills
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Synergy 
  • Organisation and administration knowledge

Average Salaries

How Much Does a HR Manager Make in Australia?
In Australia, the average HR manager earns around $88,072 per year. This varies greatly depending on experience and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 3/19.

min $60 K
max $134 K
av $88 K