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Human Resources Adviser

Kaitohutohu Pūmanawa Tangata

Alternative titles for this job

Human resources advisers are responsible for staffing in an organisation. Responsibilities include recruitment and selection, health, safety and well-being, performance management and remuneration, learning and development, employment relations and policy development.


Human resources advisers usually earn

$50K-$100K per year

Source: Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a human resources adviser are average due to increasing job numbers but high competition for positions.


Pay for human resources advisers varies depending on experience and the type of the organisation they work for. 

  • Entry-level human resources advisers usually earn between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.
  • Human resources advisers with two to four years' experience can earn between $70,000 and $100,000.
  • Senior human resources advisers with more than five years' experience usually earn $100,000 or more.

Human resources managers who report to the chief executive can earn between $150,000 and $300,000 a year.

Source: Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, March 2017.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Human resources advisers may do some or all of the following:

  • analyse organisation staffing needs, write job descriptions and advertise vacancies
  • consult with management, staff and unions about salaries and working conditions
  • give advice on workplace relations policies and procedures, performance management and employment relations matters
  • give advice on employment legislation and health and safety regulations
  • identify and plan staff learning and development 
  • develop strategies for human resources areas such as recruitment, remuneration, learning and development, change management and legislative compliance 
  • talk to staff about personal or work problems
  • mentor and coach staff 
  • manage the payroll.

Skills and knowledge

Human resources advisers need to have knowledge of:

  • employment agreements 
  • employment legislation, such as the Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, Equal Pay Act and Privacy Act.

Working conditions

Human resources advisers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work additional hours to meet job requirements
  • work in offices
  • may travel locally to conferences, meetings and training courses, or overseas to conferences.

What's the job really like?

Laura Feasey

Laura Feasey

Human Resources Adviser

"I enjoy the people element in HR," says Te Papa human resources adviser Laura Feasey. "Because you're interacting with people all across the organisation, from the CEO to security guards to curators, it's like working with a complete cross-section of society, and that human dynamic stuff is quite fascinating."

Dealing with disputes a challenge

A large part of the job involves problem solving – looking at how to make sure people enjoy their work better by providing a good work structure and environment. "Work is a big part of people's lives," Laura says, "and some days you might be dealing with issues like disputes or restructuring. You need to get all the information across and be doing all the right compliance things, but equally as important is to be understanding about individual responses and issues when someone is feeling quite emotional. It's one of the job's challenges."

People rely on you to help them

"I always say to people that to really succeed in this job you've got to have excellent attention to detail and customer service skills. People are relying on you, so you need to be really organised so you're ready to help people."

Entry requirements

To become a human resources adviser it is preferred you have a relevant tertiary qualification, such as:

  • a diploma in human resource management or in industrial psychology
  • a degree majoring in human resource management, employment relations, management or industrial psychology.

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include English, economics and technology.

Personal requirements

Human resources advisers need to be:

  • skilled at communicating with and listening to people, both in person and in writing
  • trustworthy, with high levels of integrity
  • able to keep information confidential
  • organised, and good at time management 
  • able to negotiate and deal with conflict effectively
  • empathetic, and able to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Useful experience

Useful experience for human resources advisers includes:

  • any work with people, building relationships
  • work as a training or recruitment adviser
  • administrative work 
  • teaching work
  • social work.

Find out more about training

Human Resources Institute of NZ (HRINZ)
(04) 499 2966 - hrinz@hrinz.org.nz - www.hrinz.org.nz
NZ Association for Training and Development (NZATD)
(04) 570 2460 - nzatd@nzatd.org.nz - www.nzatd.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Experience in certain areas boosts your chances

There is strong competition for human resource jobs, especially entry-level jobs. You can increase your chances of getting into an entry-level role by contacting employers directly, having a human resource management qualification and being prepared to take on a basic role in an human resources team and be flexible.

Human resources advisers with experience in internal recruitment, change management, and employment relations are in high demand for permanent and contract positions.

According to the Census, 6,894 human resources advisers worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Job opportunities strongest in certain industries

Job opportunities for human resources advisers are best in:

  • professional services
  • government organisations
  • research and science 
  • financial services
  • telecommunications
  • fast-moving consumable goods (supermarkets).

Organisations are looking for human resource advisers that can strategically improve engagement and capability and have experience in change management.

Types of employers varied

Human resources advisers may work for:

  • large organisations
  • government departments
  • human resources consultancies.

Self-employed human resources advisers work on contracts for small to medium-sized businesses.


  • Careers New Zealand research, March 2017.
  • Chris, T, chief executive, Human Resources Institution of New Zealand, Careers New Zealand interview, March 2017.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Human resources advisers may move into management positions such as human resources manager or training and development manager.

They may also specialise in an area of human resource management such as:

Employee Relations Adviser
Employee relations advisers help management, staff and union members to work co-operatively together, and manage the negotiation of employment agreements, personal grievances or disputes, and other employment issues.
Health and Safety Adviser
Health and safety advisers monitor workplace health and safety hazards, train employees on health and safety procedures, and investigate accidents.
Organisation Development Adviser
Organisation development advisers improve staff capabilities such as leadership, skills and culture.
Recruitment Consultant
Recruitment consultants work with candidates (people looking for work) and clients (employers looking for people to hire) to help match candidates to jobs.
Training and Development Adviser
Training and development advisers identify the learning needs of organisations and plan training based on these.
Laura Feasey writing a document at her computer.

Creating recruitment and training strategies is an important part of a human resources adviser's job

Last updated 14 January 2021