If you are interested in pursuing a career in human resources (HR), you can choose from many ways to study human resources and become qualified. There are traditional contact classes as well as many online offerings. Some of them are full-time and others are offered part-time allowing you to continue working at the same time.
Deciding which is best for you will depend on your circumstances. Studying full-time study makes sense if you are in a hurry and are in a position to afford full-time study for three years. This is mostly the case for younger students who are still supported by their parents, or those with a scholarship or bursary. Not everyone is in such a fortunate position, however. This is where part-time and online studies make it a realistic possibility for those who need to work to support themselves.
The combination of online and part-time studies go well together as a way to study human resources or any other course for that matter. The University of Johannesburg’s Bachelor of Human Resources Management course is both online and part-time. It takes four years and eight months to complete. This is longer than the three years it would take if done full-time, but it allows you the flexibility to work, earn and gain experience while you study human resources online.
In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of learning human resources, the need for HR in South Africa as well as details on the skills and qualifications needed to get a job in the field of human resources.
If you are already working, you might wonder why you should go to the extra effort to study human resources part-time. This is a valid question which we will try to answer. Are you very satisfied with your job? Do you see a clear path ahead for career advancement? In the unlikely event that this is the case, then perhaps you do not need to study part-time. However, for most people working in the field of human resources, the lack of a degree or other formal qualification can be a barrier to career advancement. Completing a bachelor of human resources management degree will allow you to break through that barrier.
In the above section, we spoke of how a human resources qualification will open up further employment opportunities, but there are many other benefits from studying human resources.
One of the major advantages of studying human resources is that the skills learnt and acquired or applicable across all industries. The one unifying thing across all economic and industrial activities is that they involve people. This means that the need for human resource professionals is almost universal.
A small business with only a handful of employees is unlikely to prioritise the role of human resources, but even a small business will benefit from having someone with human resource management skills. For a business to grow, human resources skills are very useful. For a business to grow it needs to recruit the right people with the right skills. Building up the skills of existing employees and ensuring that they are happy in their work environment is also very important for businesses big and small.
There is also the South African Human Resources Development Council, which is a national advisory board working with the office of the deputy president. The council’s stated aim is to increase productivity and the human resources development needed to transform South Africa into a knowledge economy. It also aims to speed up the country’s economic growth and development through an increase in South Africa’s economic competitiveness. Another key responsibility of the council is to “build the human resource development base required to ensure a prosperous and inclusive South African society and economy, focusing on the development of strategy”.
This shows the important role that human resources professionals have to play in the economy.
Here are some common questions and answers about human resource management qualifications and careers:
The human resources field doesn’t have one specific route to becoming qualified, unlike some professions. A bachelor’s degree in human resources will prepare you well for a career in human resource management, which can be taken further with an honours degree in human resources. There are also several diplomas and postgraduate diplomas that provide training in human resources. Another route is by obtaining a bachelor’s or preferably honours degree in industrial psychology or industrial relations.
Good communication skills are essential in human resources as much of your time will be spent working with people. Tact, diplomacy and good negotiation skills will also come into play When dealing with disputes. Administration is another large part of the job. A good human resources manager is both well organised and has extensive knowledge of both the law and psychology related to the workplace.
A human resources course will teach you human resources management, industrial psychology, business management, labour law as well as some accounting and finance. The UJ online Bachelor of Human Resource Management course also includes courses on project management, information management, the knowledge economy and analytical techniques.
A bachelor of human resource management degree is the preferred entry point for human resources management. Although it isn’t the only academic route, it is the most common for those who know from the start that they want to work in human resources. A further postgraduate qualification would add more value to a bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate options include an honours degree or a Masters in human resource management as well as postgraduate diplomas, such as UJ’s online Diploma in People Performance Management.
Human resources skills are required by any company above a certain size, regardless of the industry in which the company operates. This need for human resources skills across all industries makes it a very secure and in-demand career. Although some aspects such as payroll management are being made much easier through technology, the job of a human resources manager requires a human touch that is unlikely to be replaced by technology very soon.
The highest-paid people in human resources are the human resources directors of large companies or organisations. At the time of writing, indeed.com put the average salary in South Africa for a human resources manager at R29,680. Salary Explorer gave a very close figure of R29,500 per month, working out to R353,000 a year. The average salary for a human resources director was much higher at R589,491 a year across South Africa. This rises to an average of R805,000 a year for human resources directors in Cape Town. (This may have changed since the time of writing as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Sandton were close behind)
The field of human resources can be split into five main areas of focus. These are:
- talent management
- compensation and benefits
- training and development
- human resources compliance
- workplace safety
Human resources workers do use some maths. Working out pay packages and the tax due is one area where maths is needed, but the actual calculations are normally handled by specialised software. This means you just need a firm understanding of some basics and do not need to be a mathematical expert to work in the human resources field. The UJ online Bachelor of Human Resource Management course includes two modules on mathematics for finance and business, but these are foundational courses and focus on practical applications.
Study human resources online with UJ
If you are interested in studying human resources online and part-time, then please have a look at the modules covered in the UJ Bachelor of Human Resource Management course. All of UJ’s online courses are structured so that you only need to pay for one module, making it easier to budget for your course fees. If you fulfil the admission requirements, you can apply now and begin your course within no more than two months.