What Does a Human Resources Generalist Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

This illustration shows a day in the life of a human resources generalist including "Employee relationship management," "Employee safety, welfare, and wellness education," "Compensation and benefits administration," and "Recruiting and staffing logistics."

Brooke Pelczynski © The Balance

The human resources (HR) generalist manages the day-to-day operations of the human resource office of a company, as well as the administration of the human resources policies, procedures, and programs. HR departments generally handle employee relations, training and development, benefits, compensation, organizational development, and employment.

Human Resources Generalist Duties & Responsibilities

The job generally requires the ability to perform the following duties:

HR generalists originate and lead HR practices and objectives that provide an employee-oriented, high-performance culture. They usually report to the human resources director or HR manager and assist and advise company managers on HR issues.

Human Resources Generalist Salary

An HR generalist's salary can vary depending on location, experience, and employer.

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,880
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $104,390
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $36,270

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Education, Training, & Certification

A bachelor's degree is usually required for human resources generalists and many pursue some form of certification. Employers may require specialized training.

  • Education: The job usually requires at minimum a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or organizational development. Coursework usually includes business, psychology, communication, human resource management, and accounting. A masters degree is sometimes preferred.
  • Training: Some employers may require specialized training in employment law, compensation, organizational planning, organization development, employee relations, safety, or preventive labor relations.
  • Certification: Certification is not usually required, but one such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the HR Certification Institute is sometimes preferred.

Human Resources Generalist Skills & Competencies

To be successful in this role, you’ll generally need the following skills and qualities:

  • Communication skills: The job requires good listening, speaking, and writing skills.
  • Organizational skills: An HR assistant must be able to easily access and store many types of information on a daily basis.
  • Confidentiality: An HR generalist handles confidential and sensitive information that must not be shared with others.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this field will grow 7% through 2026, which is the same as the overall employment growth for all occupations in the country.

Work Environment

HR generalists usually work in an office setting.

Work Schedule

HR generalists usually work full time during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

How to Get the Job


Review examples of HR generalist resumes and cover letters to make sure you include the relevant skills and everything else you need.


Start by looking at job sites that are especially for careers in human resources, such as HR Jobs HQ from the HR Certification Institute.


To build confidence and better prepare for interviews, take a look at some common interview questions.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People who are interested in becoming HR generalists may also consider other careers with these median salaries:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018