The term 'human resources' was first coined by the economist John R. Commons in The Distribution of Wealth (1893). As a recognisable function of the working world, it was not until the 20th century that Human Resources (HR) developed practices to address misunderstandings between employers and employees.

Over time, practices became more sophisticated and multifaceted. HR will search, screen, recruit, and train employees as a function of business. By extension, it became responsible for employee reward schemes, engagement, culture, safety, payroll, policies, and dismissal. It also required legal literacy and compliance with the effects on organisations and employees.

Few linear career paths remain in the world of work. Many jobs are prone to obfuscation and meaninglessness. A key value indicator of HR as a career is that it remains one of the few hierarchies where job title packs significance.

There are many titles linked to HR. Considering Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule from Outliers: The Story of Success, HR titles are associated with the experience.

  • Entry Tier (yrs. 0-1+) = Associate / Intern
  • Junior Tier (yrs. 2-3+) = Assistant / Administrator / Co-ordinator
  • Mid Tier (yrs. 4-5+) = Advisor / Officer / Partner / Generalist
  • Senior Tier (yrs. 6-7+) = Manager / Business Partner / Consultant
  • Expert Tier (yrs. 10-20+) = Director / CHRO

In summary, HR professionals support organisations to be structured and ordered to nurture productivity and achieve strategic goals.


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