I be an HR manager without a degree?
I'm an HR generalist.
I've been with the same firm for five years, hired as an executive
assistant to the president making $32k, one year later became administrative
manager, then at the end of last year was promoted to HR manager,
I was promoted with
the expectation that our company would grow rapidly. That reality
has not taken place and although I have plenty to do in my role,
I'm getting back the office management responsibilities I previously
I've handled five
office lease expansions, telephones, benefits, new hires, orientations,
terminations, etc. I have excellent communication skills, I'm organized,
and am aggressive and a good negotiator.
Everything went sour
at my last performance review when my new boss didn't/couldn't support
the raise I felt was justified. Not only did she not give me what
I felt I deserved, but she did not put me in the management position
I felt made most sense. I thought I could save her money by not
hiring an office manager, but she felt office management and HR
management had to be split out, putting us on the same reporting
level to her.
Because of my disappointment
with the performance review, I registered with an HR Study Group
through the Society of Human Resource Management to study for a
Professional in Human Resources Certification. I passed, and can
add that PHR after my name. Because I passed, the company will pay
the $1,000 course fee.
Should I go out and
look at what is out there? Since I don't have a four-year degree,
I guess I am afraid of rejection, even though the PHR Certification
"certifies" the extent of my knowledge in the HR field. How can
I sell myself without that degree? The money in HR is not worth
me going back to school to earn my degree.
I must agree with your employer that your education and experience
are not commensurate with what I would expect from an HR manager.
Human resources is
a management profession, like accounting. The job description in
the Salary Wizard calls for
an HR manager to have at least seven years of experience in human
resources, in addition to a bachelor's degree. Some companies go
far as to require their HR managers to have an advanced degree.
The reason most employers
expect their HR managers to have considerable experience in human
resources is that the HR professional must understand many areas
of HR in order to make the appropriate decisions to support the
overall objectives of a company. The position carries both legal
and ethical responsibilities in addition to budgetary and other
business considerations. HR managers are responsible for ensuring
the health and safety of workers, for carrying out equitable hiring
practices, for guarding against or responding in case of misconduct,
and many other critical issues.
When a CEO or an
executive promotes someone who lacks the experience and educational
background in human resources, it tells me that they don't really
value the function a great deal. They are not looking for someone
who will support the company's overall business objectives by attracting,
retaining, and motivating talented employees.
Think about it. Would
your company hire a controller who had less than three years of
experience in accounting and no degree? Even if the candidate had
worked for the company for five years? Chances are, the candidate
wouldn't even be considered, much less offered the job, in part
because the finances of a company are extremely important. A company
wants to make sure that whoever they entrust in that role has the
experience and knowledge to manage the company's financial resources.
The same thing is
true in human resources. So if you have a professional interest
in becoming a human resources manager, go back to school and get
a degree. If you want to earn about what you're making now either
in your current role or as an office manager, stay where you are.
Your current salary is quite good.
Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional