HR Director Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An HR Director is a Human Resource professional who forms part of an organisation’s senior leadership team. Their duties include overseeing all the HR functions within an organisation, creating and enforcing HR policies and programs and driving a company’s people management strategy.

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HR Director duties and responsibilities

The range and type of duties an HR Director will be responsible for will vary depending on the size of an organisation. HR Directors who work for large corporations will typically have a more executive function, whereas those in small companies will get involved with day-to-day operations. In general, however, they are responsible for:

  • Developing and implementing a company’s policies and programs
  • Ensuring that all policies comply with legal regulations
  • Overseeing all HR functions and staff
  • Developing, monitoring and implementing a company’s people management strategy
  • Managing an HR department’s annual budget
  • Reporting on the performance and progress of an HR department to senior stakeholders
  • Directing change management and organisational development

What does an HR Director do?

Although HR Directors lead and manage an HR team, unlike HR Managers, they are not that involved with day-to-day operations. These professionals often work closely together with the senior stakeholders of a company and can sit on an executive board, they have more of a strategic and executive function within a company. HR Directors help curate a company’s culture, establish the direction for an HR department and develop and implement HR initiatives that are in line with a company’s business objectives and legal restrictions.

HR Director skills and qualifications

An HR role is people-centred.Whether they are strategising with or reporting to senior stakeholders, leading an HR team or having round-table discussions with employees, these professionals need excellent interpersonal skills. A successful HR Director candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications including:

  • Strong communications skills, including the ability to listen to the needs of others
  • Strong strategic skills and the ability to act as a visionary for a company
  • In-depth knowledge of labour laws and HR practices
  • Strong leadership qualities to lead an HR team and fulfil an executive function
  • Strong business and financial skills, including financial planning, budgeting and financial reporting
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations and deal well with conflict
  • Excellent organisational skills and the ability to multitask
  • Strong morals and ethics and sound judgement

HR Director experience requirements

As this is a senior leadership role, prospective employers will require that candidates have several years experience in an HR department and at least three to five years in an HR leadership position. Generally, candidates should have a strong understanding of all HR functions and proven experience in driving a strategic workforce plan.

In addition, employers may require experience in providing change leadership, dealing with finances, working with HR information systems and working in a multi-cultural work environment. Depending on the job, employers may also ask for specific sector experience, especially where positions in the financial and professional services sector are concerned.

HR Director education and training requirements

HR Directors should hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources or Business management. A Master’s Degree allows a candidate to specialise in certain aspects of HR and demonstrates detailed knowledge in the HR field and is often preferred. Many employers also value candidates who hold a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) professional qualification, such as a CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Human Resource Management.

HR Director salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an HR Director is £74,977 per year. However, salaries will vary depending on factors like the location of the company and the business sector in which it operates.

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HR Director job description FAQs

What is the difference between an HR Manager and an HR Director?

An HR Manager has an operational and hands-on function, whereas an HR Director plays a more strategic and executive role. An HR Manager often oversees a specific function within the HR department, such as payroll and recruitment, while HR Director oversees a whole HR department.

Do all HR Directors have Bachelor's Degrees?

Although most HR Directors hold a Bachelor’s Degree, it’s possible for a candidate to start their career through an apprenticeship or by directly applying for a junior position, such as HR Assistant, and then working their way up. However, in such an instance employers will likely want to see one or more CIPD qualifications.

Is an MBA a good post-graduate qualification for an HR Director?

As an HR Director forms part of the senior leadership team and has an executive and strategic function within a company, these professionals need sound business acumen. An MBA will broaden an HR Director’s business skills and is very relevant.

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