Key Findings on Careers in Human Resources

Welcome to the latest Devant blog post. As you may recall, our last post was focused on Careers in the Not-for-Profit sector. In this edition, we are bringing you some insider tips and advice about a growing and popular field of work: Careers in Human Resources.

If you are currently studying the social sciences, business or Human Resources focused program areas you might want to consider the possibilities in this growing and dynamic career path.

We took some time this week to chat with Jennifer Bernardo, a seasoned HR professional specializing in recruitment and workforce development, about job market insights in the HR space. We’ve put together some of the most important pieces from our discussion here for you. If you’d like to hear more from Jennifer, she will be one of the experts in our upcoming Panel on Careers in HR on August 12th.

First, we would like to provide you with some information about the Human Resources sector, using data supplied by Burning Glass.

The figure below gives us a broad overview of the jobs that were in demand between June 2019 and June 2020. The most in-demand professions were Human Resouces Managers, Recruiters, Human Resources Coordinators, Human Resources Generalists, and Human Resources Advisors.

Graph - HR job postings by title

Question: Does the data accurately reflect what you are seeing in the labour market?

Jennifer: Yes, overall. Keeping in mind that not all opportunities are formally posted (I.e. Hidden Job Market).

Key Observation

Transactional HR functions, such as benefits administration, now tend to be more technology-driven and fewer HR practitioners are needed in areas that can be readily automated.

The next 2 graphs are very useful. They illustrate exactly what skills where featured in those job ads and with what frequency.

Graph - HR specialized skill demand

Graph - HR Baseline Skill Demand

Question: Considering the above skills, are there any you feel require discussion?

Jennifer: Yes, I would debate that although change management and conflict resolution appear low on the list, these skills are increasingly important. It is likely that a candidate would be assessed for these skills during the recruitment process even if they are not mentioned in the job posting.

Key Observation

Human Resources management is increasingly a key component of the overall organizational strategy and success (vs. a support department/function within the organization).  As a result, HR professionals should be well versed in many areas. This includes project/change management, metrics and analytics, employer branding and communications, and embracing technology to support HR.

Question: Any advice for those seeking entry-level HR positions?

Jennifer: There is often the challenge of “not having the experience required” and “not being provided opportunities to gain experience”. I faced this early on in my career as well. Some options to gain the experience to support entry into an HR career & advancement include:

  • Contract or temporary positions, as employers may allow more flexibility for experience requirements in selecting candidates for the role
  • Participate actively with a professional association such as the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPAO) to gain experience and expand your professional network
  • Volunteer with a community organization or a board of directors to gain leadership experience
  • Consider HR Generalist opportunities (vs. HR Specialist roles) to develop broad-based skillsets which are generally more attractive to employers

Question: What are some strengths and limitations for international students as companies become more global?

Jennifer: Here are a few things to consider:

  • Organizations actively strive to be more diverse
  • Aid in creating more inclusive workplaces
  • International students provide fresh perspectives and experiences to support these strategies


  • International students are now competing with a larger talent pool globally for job opportunities
  • International students may not have developed professional networks, and as a result, not have access to the “hidden” job markets
  • Organizations may not have developed a culture, processes, or practices to support diversity or inclusiveness initiatives

Question: What is your overall experience as an HR Professional?

Jennifer: In my career, I am continually evolving. Ongoing learning and professional development is a must to keep pace with expectations and higher standards.

The Human Resources space can take your career in many directions and can provide many career paths.

If you want to hear more about finding success in the Human Resources sector, join us at our next Expert Panel on August 12.


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