A human resources, or HR, clerk handles office duties for the human resources department of a company. HR clerks type letters, forward mail, answer phones, file reports and greet potential employees and help schedule interviews. They work for a department that hires and trains new employees and handles the payroll, bonuses and health-care and retirement plans for current employees.
Basics of the Job
HR clerks help keep track of important information regarding a company’s employees, such as their names, addresses, whom to contact in an emergency and whether the employees are paid by yearly salary or hourly wage. They double-check things like vacation and sick days and that the correct amount of tax has been withheld from paychecks. HR clerks might also proofread the employee handbook, type and mail letters written by their superiors and greet customers or patrons at the front desk.
HR clerks need to be able to perform many tasks at once and handle responsibilities that can change every day. They must be orderly, adaptable, professional, courteous and motivated and must work well on their own or as a member of a team. They also should possess strong typing skills and be well versed in other areas of office work, as most enter data and keep employee records with computers. On top of those things, HR clerks need to be strong communicators, able to convey important information to co-workers, superiors and job candidates.
Background and Education
Most HR clerks are able to learn on the job, although a high school diploma is almost always required. Some HR clerks have spent time as receptionists, administrative assistants or office clerks in another industry. Others may have obtained an associate degree or certificate from a vocational school or community college, with a focus on courses in communications, keyboarding, computers, math and, of course, human resources.
HR clerks belong to a weakening industry, as their jobs are beginning to be replaced by technology, particularly automated record keeping. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates in 2010, jobs for HR clerks will decrease by 6 percent from 2008 to 2018. However, employment of office clerks in general is expected to increase by 12 percent during the same decade, the BLS reported.
Salaries for HR clerks vary considerably by their experience, industry and overall duties. Most, however, are able to earn at least a livable wage. The BLS reported the mean annual wage of HR clerks that aren't involved in payroll or timekeeping was nearly $38,520 per year in May 2013. According to the ONet OnLine website, the median pay was slightly higher for clerks who also had payroll and timekeeping responsibilities: $38,670 annually in 2013.