Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Human Resource Professionals

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for this occupation are average. The demand for human resource (HR) professionals is expected to grow slightly in the next decade. The chances of getting a job are fair, especially for those with experience in specialist fields such as remuneration, learning and development, change management, diversity, and health and safety. Income is high.

How to become a human resource professional

What they do

HR professionals are responsible for the management of people, capability, talent and culture in an organisation. This work includes recruitment and selection, health and safety and wellbeing, employment relations, organisational development, using human resource management information systems (HRMIS), remuneration and rewards, and learning and development.

Their tasks may include:

  • determining, implementing, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating human resource management strategies, policies and plans to meet business needs
  • advising and assisting other Managers in applying sound recruitment and selection practices, and appropriate induction, training and development programs
  • developing and implementing performance management systems to plan, appraise and improve individual and team performance
  • representing the organisation in negotiations with unions and employees to determine remuneration and other conditions of employment
  • developing and implementing occupational health and safety programs and equal employment opportunity programs, and ensuring compliance with related statutory requirements
  • overseeing the application of redundancy and other employee retrenchment policies
  • monitoring employment costs and productivity levels
  • training and advising other Managers in personnel and workplace relations matters
  • arranging for advertising of job vacancies, interviewing and testing of applicants, and selection of staff
  • maintaining personnel records and associated human resource information systems
  • providing advice and information to management on workplace relations policies and procedures, staff performance and disciplinary matters
  • arranging the induction of staff and providing information on conditions of service, salaries and promotional opportunities
  • receiving and recording job vacancy information from employers such as details about job description, wages and conditions of employment
  • providing information on current job vacancies in the organisation to employers and job seekers
  • undertaking negotiations on terms and conditions of employment, and examining and resolving disputes and grievances
  • studying and interpreting legislation, awards, collective agreements and employment contracts, wage payment systems and dispute settlement procedures
  • developing, planning and formulating enterprise agreements or collective contracts such as productivity-based wage adjustment procedures, workplace relations policies and programs, and procedures for their implementation
  • overseeing the formation and conduct of workplace consultative committees and employee participation initiatives


Qualifications needed

Employers seek HR professionals with experience and tertiary qualifications in subjects related to human resource management, including:

  • human resources
  • psychology
  • management
  • industrial relations
  • employment law

Useful qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Business Studies, Bachelor of Applied Management (majoring in human resource management or industrial-organisational psychology), Bachelor of Law, and a Bachelor of Human Resource Management or a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

Cost of study

Bachelor of Business Studies (HR)
$19,500 over three years

Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for  fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

Many universities and polytechnics offer relevant courses throughout New Zealand.

Completed qualifications

Since 2013, the number of students completing a Bachelor of Human Resource Management has generally been rising.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Professional organisation

HR practitioners can join the membership-based Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ). Members must uphold a Code of Professional and Ethical Behaviour and are entitled to professional development and a range of helpful information.

HRINZ, membership:

Income and employment prospects


The salary range for an HR practitioner starts at around $49,000 for new graduates, and can go to about $150,000 for senior roles (such as HR general managers).

In 2018, the average income for HR professionals was estimated to be around $86,500.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Human resource professionals’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
6,678 7,410 8,460 9,200
  1.5% 2.2% 1.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Human Resource and Training Professionals”.

The number of people employed in the broader category ‘Human resource and training professionals’, grew between 2006 and 2013, and employment numbers are projected to continue to grow until 2028.

There is strong competition for generalist and entry-level jobs. On the other hand, HR practitioners with experience and expertise in internal recruitment, change management, learning and development, culture and diversity management, remuneration and rewards, and employment relations are in high demand for both permanent and contract positions.

In New Zealand as a whole, there are fewer vacancies in the public sector and local bodies, and fewer vacancies in the manufacturing, construction and retail industries.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
17% 30% 1% 79% $56,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Business & Management.

Three years after completing a bachelor’s degree in business and management, the large majority of graduates are in employment. A fairly high proportion of graduates were overseas or in further study, while very few were receiving a benefit. The median salary three years after graduation was estimated to be about $56,000.

Note, these percentages may not add up to 100% because some may be in ore than one category, e.g. in further study AND in employment.

HR professionals are not on Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job vacancies for HR professionals has lagged behind the average for all occupations during the last seven years. This could mean that it has become harder to find a job in this occupation, or that recruitment has moved away from online job boards.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

HR practitioners’ vacancies are advertised through websites such as Trade Me Jobs and Seek and, increasingly, through social media like LinkedIn.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

HR practitioners may move into management positions such as human resources manager, corporate services director, training and development manager, general manager or chief executive.

They may also move into specialist human resources roles such as:

Employee relations adviser/manager

Employee relations advisers help management, staff and union members to work co-operatively, and manage the negotiation of employment agreements, personal grievances or disputes, and other employment issues.

Recruitment consultant

Recruitment consultants work with candidates (people looking for work) and clients (employers looking for people to hire) to help match candidates to jobs.

Learning and development adviser/manager

Learning and development advisers identify the learning needs of organisations and plan training based on these needs.

Employment relations adviser/manager

Employment relations advisers help resolve workplace disputes by advising on workplace relations policies and representing industrial, commercial, union, employer or other parties in negotiations on rates of pay and conditions of employment.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level human resource professionals.

  • Compensation and Benefits / Rewards Manager
  • Counsellor
  • Employee Relations Adviser/Manager
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager
  • Human Resources Adviser
  • Learning and Development Adviser/Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Personnel Officer
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Workplace Relations Adviser

Other information


More information on HR professionals is available on the Careers New Zealand and HRINZ websites.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of human resource professionals has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

1323 – Human Resource Managers
2231 – Human Resource Professionals