Human Resource Generalist

Human Resources (HR) is at the centre of all businesses, be they small, medium, or large – the HR function is responsible for most, if not all, people aspects of a business.  An HR Generalist will have a wide variety of responsibility and is required to be a trusted advisor who supports managers with all aspects of people management and the employee lifecycle.  

What is Human Resources?
  • Talent acquisition – you will be involved in determining how to attract and source new talent for the business and how to build a talent pipeline for the future needs of the business. You will get involved in all aspects of advertising, attracting, recruiting, and selecting talent.
  • On-boarding new employees using appropriate software, processes, and training to ensure that the business delivers on its value proposition and that new employees settle in, can deliver and want to stay!
  • Training and development – whilst many companies have Learning and Development specialists who are responsible for this component of HR, this responsibility may fall within the HR realm, or HR will work in tandem with Learning and Development to ensure that employees learn, grow, and remain engaged and productive within the business.
  • Performance and reward management – this aspect of HR usually entails working with line managers to arrange and execute performance reviews and create a performance-driven culture within the organisation that is linked to a meaningful reward structure.
  • Designing, implementing and maintaining remuneration and benefits packages – management of the payroll system and accuracy of staff records usually falls into HR. Understanding and maintaining best practice in remuneration, including trends in remuneration and benefits and market-related pay scales in the applicable industry will also form part of HR’s responsibility.
  • Employee wellbeing and engagement – a growing concern for many businesses, HR will often be at the centre of creating and managing wellness and engagement initiatives.
  • Labour, BBBEE and health and safety legislation – HR staff need to be familiar with the requirements of these three pieces of legislation and will be responsible for ensuring that they are up-to-date, properly implemented and adhered to. Involvement in disciplinary issues will usually be a requirement.

  • Creating people policies and procedures – HR policies will usually cover the legislative requirements mentioned above and will also cover the “rules and regulations” within the work HR will be involved in formulating, reviewing, sharing information about, and implementing policy and procedure in the workplace.

  • Using HR information systems to gather people data and insights this is usually done using an HR Information System such as SAGE, SAP, PeopleSoft etc.

What are the employment opportunities?

Because businesses are not able to function without people and the HR role is central to all aspects of the employee lifecycle, there are usually HR Generalist opportunities available across all Industries and sizes of business.  As an HR Generalist you would have the option of working in any industry that appeals to you – from manufacturing to IT; retail to the entertainment industry; to professional services and more.  The industry options are literally endless!

According to the average HR Generalist salary is R285 000 per annum, with entry level salaries averaging R145 000 per annum.  More experienced HR Managers can expect to earn more than R350 000 per annum. (Figures quoted are based on 2022 data).

What skills and qualifications do I need?

The key skills and attributes of an HR Generalist are as follows:

  • Organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills including negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to act with integrity, professionalism, trust and confidentiality
  • A thorough understanding of the applicable legislation – particularly labour relations, BBEEE requirements, Occupational Health and Safety and Skills Development.
  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft suite programmes such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Strong client focus and the ability to network and build relationships
  • Team Orientation

Entry-level qualifications

NQF Level 7: Advanced Diploma in HR Management, Advanced Diploma in HR Development

Undergraduate Level:

B Com HR Management, Bachelor’s in HR Management, Bachelor’s in Business Management, Bachelor’s in HR Management and Labour Relations, Bachelor’s in Organization and Resource Management, Bachelor’s in Industrial Psychology

Postgraduate Level:

Honours in Human Resource Management, Honours in Organization and Resource Management, Honours in Industrial Psychology, PostGraduate Diploma

Association membership options

SABPP – The South African Board for Personnel Practice, IPM – Institute of People Management


Where can I study?



Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management

Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Development


Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management





Bachelor’s in Industrial Psychology




Bachelor’s and Honours in Organizational Psychology

Bachelor’s in Business Management

Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations

Bachelor’s in Organization and Resource Management

Honours in Organization and Resource Management

Honours in Human Resource Management

Honours in Industrial Psychology


Cape Peninsula University of Technology


Cape Peninsula University of Technology


University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, North West University, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, University of the Witwatersrand

University of Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg, University of the Western Cape and UNISA

SACAB (The South African College of Applied Psychology)


University of Cape Town

University of Johannesburg


Stellenbosch University


Stellenbosch University


University of Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg, UNISA

You might also be interested in

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top