HR DirectorJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

HR Directors oversee the human resources department by developing policies and supporting staff members. It is essential for HR directors to have strong problem-solving and people skills to succeed in this role.

HR directors are primarily responsible for overseeing the HR staff by implementing HR policies, hiring staff, negotiating employment contracts, managing employee benefits, and designing training programs. HR directors are required to have a bachelor’s degree in human resource management and an extensive knowledge of labor laws and regulations.

This job opportunity involves a wide range of responsibilities and duties. HR directors must be able to deal with employee grievances effectively and continue to improve job satisfaction. HR directors will be able to take on different roles and be offered higher HR positions, such as vice president of human resources or chief human resources officer.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an experienced human resources director to ensure that all human resources operations are carried on smoothly and effectively. You will be responsible for developing HR strategies and providing advice to senior management or executive positions on all related subjects. An HR director must be an experienced professional with deep knowledge of all matters concerning HR departments. You should be able to manage programs and lead staff while also possessing a strong strategic mindset. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience in a leadership role, excellent communication skills, and strong knowledge of labor regulations and HR practices.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop and implement HR policies and programs for an organization
  • Ensure that all policies comply with legal regulations
  • Develop and manage departmental budget
  • Report on the performance and progress of the HR department to senior stakeholders
  • Direct change management and organizational development
  • Collaborate with senior leadership on staffing, recruiting, and retention strategies
  • Oversee the administration of HR functions, including compensation, benefits, leave, disciplinary matters, disputes, recognition, occupational health and safety, and training
  • Identify staffing and recruiting needs and develop best practices for hiring
  • Review metrics from the human resource information system (HRIS) or talent management system

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or related field
  • Masters degree preferred
  • 5+ years of human resource management

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Thorough knowledge of labor laws and HR practices
  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Exceptional interpersonal and negotiation skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to prioritize and delegate tasks
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite or related software

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s degree
  • Experience developing effective training programs
  • Experience utilizing technology to enhance and measure the results of human resources programs
  • Hands-on experience with an HRIS or HRMS 

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an HR director is $120,000 per year in the United States. Salaries vary depending on education, certifications, company size, industry, and years of experience.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$119,350$161,450
Los Angeles, California$134,650$182,150
Denver, Colorado$112,200$151,800
Washington, DC$136,650$184,900
Miami, Florida$111,700$151,100
Orlando, Florida$103,000$139,400
Tampa, Florida$104,150$104,750
Atlanta, Georgia$109,150$147,650
Chicago, Illinois$125,450$169,750
Boston, Massachusetts$135,650$183,550
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$108,100$146,300
New York City, New York$142,800$193,200
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$116,300$157,300
Dallas, Texas$113,200$153,200
Houston, Texas$112,700$152,500
Seattle, Washington$130,550$176,650
National Average$102,000$138,000

Typical work environment

HR directors work in offices during typical office hours, which might include some overtime. HR directors might have to travel for meetings, presentations, etc. if they work for organizations that have multiple branches or offices.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an HR director are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Some travel might be required to attend meetings, give presentations, or recruit employees. 

Available certifications

HR directors work in many different industries, and many institutions offer certifications for HR professionals. Here are three of the top HR certifications for advanced HR professionals:

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). The (SPHR) is designed for professionals who are working in a senior HR position. Offered by the HR Certification Institute, this credential can help advance you to the next level. To be eligible,  you must have a minimum of four, five, or seven years of professional-level HR work experience. The amount of experience depends on your educational background. The course covers leadership and strategy, talent planning and acquisition, learning and development, total rewards, and employee relations and engagement. You must pursue continuing education to maintain the credential.
  • Senior SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). The SHRM-SCP is designed for HR professionals with advanced knowledge of HR strategic planning and how those strategies meet company goals. Topics covered are behavioral competencies, technical knowledge, people, organization, workplace, and strategy. An SHRM-SCP certified individual is well equipped to deal with employee performance or efficiency metrics and to successfully execute, deploy, and install HR projects. The requirements to sit for the exam include five or six years of working experience or less if you have a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Global Professional in Human Resources® (GPHR). To be eligible for the GPHR, you must have global HR experience, such as having direct, cross-border HR responsibilities for two or more countries or regions. Eligibility for the GPHR depends on your level of education and your current experience in an HR role. The exam covers a number of topics, including strategic global human resources, global talent management, global mobility, and risk management and compliance. 

Career path

To become an HR director, you need years of education and work experience. You’ll first need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, management, or a related field. Then, you can get experience through an internship in an HR department, or by getting an entry-level HR job as an HR specialist, recruiter, associate, or administrative assistant in an HR department. You can also gain experience through HR conferences or by enrolling in online or in-person courses, such as public speaking, HR technology, and leadership skills. Getting a master’s degree can advance your career, providing a focus on a specific area, such as employment law or international human resources. With at least five years of experience in an HR role, including experience in a leadership role, you can move into an HR director’s position. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3121

2020 Employment161,700
Projected Employment in 2030176,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift14,800 increase

Companies are emphasizing more than ever the human aspect of the business as opposed to a more technology-based approach to HR. Balancing employee productivity with employee contentment is a key trend. HR directors are keenly aware that a happy workforce will be more engaged and more productive. 

With a major shift in 2020 to virtual workplaces, companies were able to see the benefits of remote work. Now that remote work isn’t going anywhere, HR directors will need to focus their teams on creating more permanent remote work options that give employees the flexibility to work from home full time, from the office full time, or a combination of both. 

Employee wellness is another key trend. HR directors realize that employee wellness is vital to success in a crisis, such as the one in 2020. Ensuring employees are healthy and happy is vital to the success of the organization. HR directors will have to look at enhanced wellness benefits as an incentive to maintain employee health.

Sample interview questions

  • What experience do you have with HR software?
  • What KPIs do you use to measure the effectiveness of the HR department?
  • How do you consolidate HR strategies with overall business objectives?
  • What can HR do to influence company culture?
  • What steps would you take to ensure diversity in the organization?
  • How do you deal with challenges, labor disputes, and violations?
  • How do you stay current with employment laws?
  • What are the qualities that make a good leader for an HR team?
  • What is your knowledge of the current federal and state overtime laws?
  • If one of the managers under your supervision made a serious mistake, what would you do?
  • What policies have you developed? Were they successful?
  • Has a manager come to you with a problem they couldn’t solve? What did you do to help?
  • How would you investigate possible causes and implement solutions to high turnover rates?

Are you interested in becoming an HR director?

If you’re interested in becoming an HR director, we can connect you to one of our headhunters or recruiters to see if you would be the right candidate for one of our job openings. If a job opening does not suit you, we will keep your file open as new positions open up. We have lots of experience connecting HR professionals with some of the most well-known organizations in the country. Your next job as an HR director might be around the next corner. Take a look at our latest job openings and our blog for career advice.

Similar job titles and careers

  • Chief Human Resource Officer
  • Chief People Officer
  • Chief Talent Officer
  • Benefits Director
  • Payroll Director
  • Compensation Director
  • Talent Acquisition Director
  • Director Of Workers Compensation
  • Director Of People Analytics
  • Director Recruitment Marketing

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