An HR or human resources assistant works as a liaison between an employer and employees.
Usually, they are the first point of contact for people who apply for work at a company.
Further in the article, we will explore the duties, training, skills, working hours, and other aspects of the job.
We will also talk about career opportunities for HR assistants.
Article Table of Contents
What Does an HR Assistant Do
HR assistants are tasked with maintaining the records of employees.
They handle their contact information as well as the data related to benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans.
HR assistants usually work standard business hours Monday through Friday.
Sometimes, they may have to work on the weekends, but this depends on the employer.
They work in a business setting.
As an entry-level position, this job doesn’t require certifications or degrees.
According to the BLS, the salary of an HR assistant can vary depending on the employer and industry.
As of 2016, the HR assistants made between $12.43 and $27.13 per hour, not including those who process payroll and timekeeping.
The median salary of the latter was $28.45 per hour.
In large companies, there may be several people employed in the HR department.
In such instances, HR assistants help HR specialists with their everyday tasks.
However, in smaller companies, there may be only one HR specialist responsible for employees’ information.
Depending on the place of employment, the responsibilities of HR assistants may include the following:
- Screen job applications.
- Process new hire paperwork.
- Coordinate orientation.
- Keep time and attendance records.
- Keep all employee information confidential.
- Maintain employee information in regards to W-2 tax forms, contact information, and employment status changes.
- Follow all government regulations concerning employment practices.
- Act as point of contact for employees regarding questions about their benefits.
HR assistants should keep offices well-organized and keep track of all paperwork, including payroll, employee contact information, and other forms.
For this, assistants should be able to maintain paper files and manage them electronically as well.
HR assistants screen applications write job postings, and schedule interviews.
To do all this, they need great communication skills.
They should also be able to answer questions and deliver information to employees concerning benefits and other issues.
Though it might not be a skill as it is, integrity is an essential quality for the HR employees.
HR assistants deal with sensitive information of employees, such as social security numbers.
So, they should be honest and discreet to keep all records confidential.
How to Become an HR Assistant
HR assistants don’t always need a college degree.
However, some employees may choose to obtain a degree in human resources before entering the field.
Some employers may also require a degree.
Additionally, employees can get started by completing an internship or on-the-job training.
Generally, the position of an HR assistant is entry-level, and to become a specialist in HR, you need years of experience.
Often, they enter positions with an undergraduate degree in the field of human resources.
Training and Qualifications
Typically, HR assistants don’t have much training and experience.
However, the positions typically require a high school diploma or GED.
Some HR assistants complete a 2 or 4-year degree in HR management.
At the majority of schools, these programs require students to take business management and accounting courses.
There, students learn about payroll management, business ethics, and communications.
Like many other business jobs, the position of an HR assistant doesn’t list a degree as a requirement.
However, having one, you can be more competitive.
Despite having or not having a degree, HR assistants learn most of their tasks and skills on the job.
The reason is that payroll software and policies of the company vary from one employer to another.
Because of this, HR assistants must be flexible and learn the employer’s procedures.
Some employers send their HR employees to various seminars to learn about new software and procedures.
HR assistants can start working with little to zero experience.
However, it is preferred that the candidates have at least some experience in a business setting.
They may have worked as an office clerk, or administrative assistant, or accounting clerk.
Some assistants enroll in internships while studying HR management or business management to earn a degree.
They will learn the everyday tasks of an HR assistant while earning a degree.
That way they will already have some experience on their resume as well as expand their networking opportunities.
HR assistants typically work in a business office setting.
So, they usually work normal daytime-weekday hours.
Sometimes, HR assistants may have to work on weekends.
The workweek lasts for 40 hours, however, overtime may rarely be required.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are two categories of human resources workers: HR specialists and HR assistants.
The salary of the assistants who don’t deal with timekeeping and payroll is $19.28 per hour.
The hourly rate of specialists is $28.45 per hour, with a median salary of $59,180.
The employment for this occupation will rise by 5% by 2024, which is as much as the national average.
The majority of new HR jobs will appear in the employment services field.
The job of HR assistants is quite stable because most offices hire employees for processing of payrolls and managing employee benefits packages.
Assistants have some advancement opportunities.
Those who take entry-level jobs can eventually become HR specialists.
The HR assistant job and salary can be a great fit for people who enjoy working in an office setting.