Despite the fact that many human resources professionals are women, the HR field is failing women in the workplace. Between the lack of current advancement tracks and troubling salary issues, it’s a wonder why women want to become Human Resources managers.
No, it’s not a wonder.
Even before the #MeToo movement, women have long recognized the importance of a Human Resources manager that will protect women in the workplace. It’s no surprise many desire to take up that role themselves. Many feminists are following their passion and going back to school to become HR managers.
After all, who is a better voice for women than an actual woman?
If, in spite of the field’s shortcomings, you’re interested in becoming a Human Resources manager, the tips and resources in this article will help you achieve your career goal. As an HR manager, you’ll be able to help bridge the inequality gap and protect women in the workplace.
The human resources field needs women like you.
How HR is Failing Women
An overwhelming majority of workers in the human resources field are women, according to Study.com contributor Bill Sands. Sands cites a 2016 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) which revealed that 72% of HR managers are women.
However, despite their prominence in the field, HR is failing women in the workplace.
One such failure is salary. Like so many fields, women are paid less than men. Bill Sands also reported that according to the BLS, male HR managers are, on average, paid 23% more than their female counterparts. Perhaps even more troubling is the BLS finding which revealed that lower-ranking male HR employees earned more on average than female HR managers.
While women may be rising to the position of, an albeit underpaid, HR manager, they are underrepresented in more senior leadership roles. According to SHRM contributor Dawn Onley who cites a 2016 analysis from the audit, tax, and advisory firm Grant Thornton, the number of senior leadership roles held by women rose by just 3% in the previous five years across industries around the world.
HR in the Healthcare Industry
In spite of the field’s shortcomings, many women still want to pursue a career as a Human Resources manager for the opportunity to make a difference in the workplace. One industry where women can have a major impact as HR managers is healthcare.
HR managers, according to Duquesne University, play a vital role in ensuring high-quality healthcare for patients. In many other industries, human resources managers exclusively deal with a company’s employees. However, in the healthcare industry, HR managers must also consider the needs of patients and use that understanding to direct their efforts to ensure employees follow policies and procedures.
Unlike other industries where there are few advancement tracks for women, Duquesne University reports that some large healthcare facilities have senior HR management positions available. Women interested in more responsibilities as well as more compensation should consider pursuing an HR career in the healthcare industry.
Important Skills for HR Managers
Whether you’re interested in becoming an HR manager in healthcare or another industry, there are some important skills you need to have to successfully lead and organize team members.
According to the Indeed Career Guide, HR managers must have strong interpersonal, leadership, and decision-making skills. Furthermore, you should be a highly organized and efficient communicator. Even though they’re leading, HR managers must also be team players and proficient collaborators.
To help you cultivate these important skills, Indeed suggests completing an internship with a company’s Human Resources department. After getting your bachelor’s degree, you can look for an entry-level HR job such as a human resources specialist, recruiter, or administrative assistant in an HR department.
Other ways to improve your HR skills include attending human resources conferences and furthering your education. Even before you pursue a master’s degree, Indeed recommends taking online or in-person courses about public speaking, HR technology, and leadership skills.
It could also be beneficial to study a second language since many industries value HR managers who can communicate with a multilingual staff.
Ensuring Safety in the Workplace
While all the aforementioned skills are important, HR managers especially need interpersonal and communication skills for explaining #MeToo, consent, and sexual harassment to team leaders. Similarly, these skills are put to the test when HR managers must clarify necessary safety measures.
From handling sexual harassment, supporting employee mental health, and ensuring buildings are free from toxic chemicals, Human Resources managers are vital for establishing safety in the workplace and protecting employees.
For example, HR managers should coordinate with government officials to make sure OSHA inspects workplaces regularly if employees are exposed to hazardous materials or conditions. One such industry is textiles.
Textile mill workers are at a higher risk for diseases like mesothelioma, and inhaling harmful asbestos particles can adversely affect a person’s lungs, heart, and abdomen. The particles attach themselves to these regions of the body, causing life-threatening damage.
Because many textile mill workers are women, women tend to be disproportionately affected by mesothelioma. Like combating sexual harassment in the workplace, facilitating OSHA inspections is an opportunity for female HR directors to make a difference in the lives of female employees.
Mesothelioma can be prevented with regular assessments of asbestos risks, adequate respiratory protection, and through the monitoring of worker health, according to the law firm Baron and Budd. HR managers play a vital role in ensuring that these best practices are followed.
Despite the fact that the HR field is undeserving of women who take up careers in it, women continue to serve employees as Human Resources managers across industries. Compassionate, dedicated women are in high demand. If you want to make a difference, consider becoming a Human Resources manager.