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Occupation description

This is a broad role and human resources (HR) officers develop, advise and implement policies relating to the effective use of people within an organisation. In the rail industry, this may include temporary staff, contractors and consultants on short-term contracts. Their aim is to ensure that the organisation employs the right balance of staff in terms of skills and experience, and that training and development opportunities are available to employees to enhance their performance and achieve the employer's business aims. Some of these people may be skilled migrants or even reside overseas.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Human resources officers have good planning, organisational, analytical and decision-making skills; good oral and written communication skills; and confidentiality, tact and discretion when dealing with people. In some larger organisations, you may also be working with overseas staff, so cultural awareness and having some understanding of work issues in other countries may be important.

Working conditions

HR officers work standard office hours Monday to Friday and are usually based at head office. You may travel to other locations, including regional depots and train stations, depending on the size of your organisation. If you work for an organisation that has freight, you may find yourself in remote mining areas.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

A HR officer requires a bachelor degree in a relevant area. In some instances, relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification. Occasionally, HR officers may come from a role in administration or assisting a HR officer and are currently undertaking a relevant degree.

Some rail organisations may offer a graduate program for HR roles.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association; About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

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Career paths

Recent graduates are likely to begin their career in human resources (HR) by working in a general HR role. Some prefer the breadth of this work and choose to remain in this environment or move into a more senior role, with responsibility for a number of HR officers. Others decide to pursue more specialist careers within HR, for example, in compensation and benefits, employee relations, recruitment and selection or in learning and development. These specialist roles are more likely to be found in the headquarters of organisations operating in major cities so geographical flexibility may be required for career development.

This information provided is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary slightly depending on the structure and needs of your organisation, and government rules and regulations.

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for a human resources officer