What can I do with a degree in Human Resource Management?

Students walking on campus

If you enjoy the social sciences and want to explore practical outlets for your interest, then Human Resource Management may be the major for you. Human Resource Management assumes that people are the central resource in any business, and that organisational survival depends on the extent to which people’s skills and abilities are effectively used.

It is concerned with creating and sustaining cultures of learning and performance in organisations, and includes leadership, organisational behaviour, managing change, human resource management and employment relations, communication and team dynamics, and career management.

Through their Human Resource Management degree, graduates develop a valuable set of transferable skills that include:

  • Understanding human motivation and performance
  • Diagnosing and addressing organisational challenges
  • Logical thinking and problem solving
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Applying knowledge
  • Strategic planning
  • Knowledge of business functions
  • Understanding and improving organisational functioning
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Oral and written communication.

Real-world learning

HRM has an applied focus, and students work on assignments linked with real-world business challenges. They can also spend time on internships in a range of key businesses throughout Waitaha Canterbury. These experiences deepen your skills and working knowledge, your awareness of others, and work-readiness.

Our graduates are found in every kind of organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • State-owned enterprises and large organisations in the private and public sector are the main employers of our graduates.
  • Many graduates are hired initially through graduate development programmes before moving into specific human resource roles.
  • Most graduates will begin in HR administrator positions before quickly moving on to more senior roles such as HR advisors, HR managers or senior leadership roles.
  • After gaining experience, graduates can move into consultant roles.
  • HRM graduates can also move into general management, particularly those with postgraduate degrees.
  • Graduates with HRM knowledge and skills often go into other people and business-related careers such as marketing, account management, sales, business development, e-commerce, partnerships and customer service. 

HR professionals can work in generalist roles, where they are responsible for a wide range of HR functions, or they can specialise in areas such as: recruitment, performance or talent management, remuneration and rewards, learning and development, coaching, and organisational change. HRM graduates have many diverse career options because of their understanding of people and organisational performance.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

What job titles do Human Resource Management graduates have?

HR-related jobs

  • Strategic business partner
  • Human resources advisor
  • Human resources analyst
  • Human resource manager
  • People and performance manager
  • Human resources administrator
  • Recruitment advisor / specialist
  • Recruitment consultant
  • Organisation development manager / consultant
  • Health and safety manager
  • Remuneration specialist
  • Learning and development manager
  • Learning and development consultant.

Jobs that value and utilise an HRM graduate’s skills include:

  • Account manager
  • Sales executive
  • Contact centre consultant
  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Project manager
  • Logistics coordinator
  • Quality assurance manager
  • Customer service specialist.

What activities could be part of these jobs?

  • HR practitioners can perform HR functions themselves, or act as specialists who coach and support line managers in a variety of areas
  • Developing workplace policies and procedures
  • Identifying and planning for talent requirements in the short and long-term
  • Managing the recruitment of new staff and retaining talent
  • Managing contracts and legal compliance
  • Resolving conflicts and work-related problems of employees and employers
  • Ensuring safe and healthy workplaces
  • Creating systems to link people management practices with their business strategy
  • Developing remuneration, reward and benefit packages
  • Creating organisational cultures of performance, teamwork and learning
  • Identifying training needs and fostering organisational learning and innovation.

Can I use my skills to work for myself?

Entrepreneurship and innovation are an increasing part of the working landscape.
Students and graduates can:

  • Develop an idea to form their own business
  • Get involved in a start-up
  • Offer their services as a consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

The HRM programme at UC aligns closely with the competencies required for becoming a professional HR practitioner with the Human
Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ). Students are linked with the local HRINZ branch activities, as well as the HRINZ student ambassador programme.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep upto-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Human Resource Management subject page