Human Resources Assistants Career Information
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Nature of the WorkHuman resources assistants
maintain the personnel records of an organization's employees. These records
include information such as name, address, job title, and earnings, benefits
such as health and life insurance, and tax withholding. On a daily basis, these
assistants record and answer questions about employee absences and supervisory
reports on job performance. When an employee receives a promotion or switches health insurance plans,
the human resources assistant updates the appropriate form. Human resources
assistants also may prepare reports for managers elsewhere within the organization.
For example, they might compile a list of employees eligible for an award.
In smaller organizations, some human resources assistants perform a variety of other clerical duties. They answer telephone or letter inquiries from the public, send out announcements of job openings or job examinations, and issue application forms. When credit bureaus and finance companies request confirmation of a person's employment, the human resources assistant provides authorized information from the employee's personnel records. Payroll departments and insurance companies also may be contacted to verify changes to records.
Some human resources assistants also are involved in hiring. They screen job applicants to obtain information such as education and work experience; administer aptitude, personality, and interest tests; explain the organization's employment policies and refer qualified applicants to the employing official; and request references from present or past employers. Also, human resources assistants inform job applicants, by telephone or letter, of their acceptance or rejection for employment.
In some job settings, human resources assistants have specific job titles. For example, assignment clerks notify a firm's existing employees of position vacancies and identify and assign qualified applicants. They keep track of vacancies throughout the organization and complete and distribute vacancy advertisement forms. These clerks review applications in response to advertisements and verify information, using personnel records. After a selection is made, they notify all the applicants of their acceptance or rejection.
For another example, identification clerks are responsible for security matters at defense installations. They compile and record personal data about vendors, contractors, and civilian and military personnel and their dependents. Job duties include interviewing applicants; corresponding with law enforcement authorities; and preparing badges, passes, and identification cards.
EmploymentHuman resources assistants held about 177,000 jobs in 2009. Although these workers are found in most industries, about 1 in every 6 works for a government agency. Colleges and universities, hospitals, department stores, and banks also employ large numbers of human resources assistants.
of human resources assistants is expected to grow about as fast as the average
for all occupations through the year 2010, as assistants continue to take on
For example, workers conduct Internet research to locate resumes, must be able
to scan resumes of job candidates quickly and efficiently, and must be increasingly
sensitive to confidential information such as salaries and social security numbers.
In a favorable job market, more emphasis is placed on human resources departments,
thus increasing the demand for human resources assistants. However, even in
economic downturns, there will be continuing demand for human resources assistants
as human resources departments in all industries try to make their organizations
more efficient by determining what type of employees to hire and strategically
filling job openings. Human resources assistants may play an instrumental role
in their organization's human resources policies. For example, they may talk
to staffing firms and consulting firms and conduct other research, and then
offer their ideas on issues such as whether to hire temporary contract workers
or full-time staff.
Similar to other office and administrative support occupations, the growing use of computers in human resources departments means that a lot of data entry done by human resources assistants can be eliminated, as employees themselves enter the data and send it to the human resources office. This is most feasible in large organizations with multiple human resources offices and, to some extent, could limit job growth among human resources assistants.
In addition to job growth, replacement needs will account for many job openings for human resources assistants as they advance within the human resources department, take jobs unrelated to human resources administration, or leave the labor force.
Salaries of payroll and timekeeping clerks may vary considerably. The region of the country, size of city, and type and size of establishment all influence salary levels. Also, the level of expertise required and the complexity and uniqueness of a clerk’s responsibilities may affect earnings.
Median annual earnings of payroll and timekeeping clerks in May 2009 were $30,350. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,430 and $36,930. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $44,270. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of payroll and timekeeping clerks in May 2009 were:
|Management of companies and enterprises||$32,600|
|Elementary and secondary schools||32,390|
|Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services||29,040|
Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital financial function—ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate. In addition, they may perform various other office and administrative support duties. Other financial clerks include bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; gaming cage workers; procurement clerks; and tellers.
- American Payroll Association, 660 North Main Ave., Suite 100, Suite 660, San Antonio, TX 78205-1217. Internet: http://www.americanpayroll.org
- WorldatWork, 14040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260. Internet: http://www.worldatwork.org
Information on employment opportunities for payroll and timekeeping clerks is available from local offices of the State employment service.