HR administrators are responsible for taking an active role in ensuring a business's most important assets – its people – are happy, comfortable, and working effectively in their roles. 

HR administrator - understanding this valuable role.

HR staff work as part of a team to guarantee the smooth operation of their company and to ensure that the HR department is able to complete its functions effectively.

They are also responsible for recruitment matters and ensuring that candidates are kept informed during the recruitment process. This article will explain the role of HR administrators in detail, providing information for anyone interested in pursuing a career in this area.

Key skills in HR administration.

Key skills for HR administrators include the following:

  • People skills –  an easy manner and the ability to inspire confidence, as well as trustworthiness and tactfulness.
  • Communication skills – for dealing with staff and superiors and for producing clear written reports.
  • Admin skills, for dealing with sometimes complex paperwork and maintaining reliable records.
  • Diligence – for understanding rules and regulations, adapting to new ones, and ensuring that procedures are followed accurately.

The best HR administrators are those who enjoy working with people and fit naturally into teams, helping others to feel at ease together. They need to be patient and to be willing to keep on developing their skills on an ongoing basis to meet the demands of a changing social and legal environment.

Job description for HR admin roles.

HR administrators usually work in an office environment and, as they are occupying entry-level positions, are often responsible for a large portion of the administrative work the HR team is required to complete; for example, a HR administrator may be required to conduct the research into potential candidates ahead of a series of interviews with applicants for a position with the company. They may also be required to work with specific HR officers to help the individuals to manage their workload efficiently.

HR administrators are usually the first individuals that employees talk to when they have a problem relating to their employment; therefore, they need to be able to communicate effectively and generate rapport with their co-workers. Being trustworthy and reliable is also important, as they may receive personal information. HR administrators are also often required to maintain the HR database, monitoring it to ensure that all data protection rules are constantly obeyed and that it is kept up to date.

Defining HR admin roles.

Most businesses that have a reasonably high number of employees need to have some kind of HR department. As a result, there are many different and varied HR jobs available for interested individuals. Most – from hotels to manufacturing companies – need to employ a HR team, meaning that individuals with the right skills can gain experiences in a variety of different workplace situations. 

Different organisations often define the roles of HR administrators in different ways. In a large organisation, for example, the position is likely to have a heavy focus on admin work. In a smaller company, however, individuals in HR administrator positions are likely to be delegated more responsibility and play a more active role in working toward the HR team's overall goals.


HR administrators need to ensure that the workplace is compliant with laws designed to protect vulnerable staff, so that everybody feels safe at work and is able to give their best. They need to ensure that there is no discrimination on the grounds of age, race, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, and that staff members don’t face any related prejudice in the workplace.

They also need to ensure that staff are safe from sexual harassment and from bullying. This means that they need to make sure all staff know they are there and feel able to approach them if something goes wrong. It also means they need to keep an eye out for potential problems that night not be being reported.

Salary and hours.

New HR admins can expect to earn between £15,000 and £18,000 per annum. They usually work nine to five, though some companies that operate round the clock offer shift based positions that can be a good option for those who want to fit their work around domestic responsibilities or study. Some part time roles are also available in this profession.

HR admins are usually expected to read trade journals and keep up with issues like legal changes in their own time, and they may sometimes need to stay a little later at work in order to be available to staff members who want to speak with them discreetly. Beyond this, however, work rarely intrudes into the rest of life.


Although most HR personnel start out with degrees, adding professional qualifications makes it much easier to progress into senior positions.

Studying with professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is usually the best option, though there are also specialist NVQs and SVQs available. All of these can be attained through part time study and they are often available through correspondence courses, making it easy to work and study at the same time.

Daylong and week long training courses are usually made available by government departments when new regulations are introduced, and most workplaces allow paid time off from HR staff to attend these.


The growth prospects for HR administrators are generally very high. The position usually serves as a point of entry into an HR career, and people who excel in HR administrator jobs are likely to be able to apply for promotion to HR officer and eventually to HR manager positions within the same company, with salaries for the latter rising as high as £50,000 per annum. 

HR positions tend to be relatively similar across different organisations, meaning that individuals in these roles can easily transfer to other companies – with minimal training – if a more exciting or profitable opportunity arises for them to do so. Some HR workers find they have to change companies in order to progress their career, especially if they work for a small organisation where limited opportunities for progression are available.