HR specialist vs HR generalist: which is right for you?

Published on: 8 Jan 2019

For many HR professionals, there will come a point in their career where they ask themselves whether they want to remain an HR generalist or develop in one HR area and become a specialist. Choosing which path to take can be hard unless you have a passion for one particular area.

The basic difference between the two is that an HR generalist has a general knowledgebase that covers a wide range of areas whereas an HR specialist has a deep level of knowledge in one.

At the start of your career, remaining a generalist could be advisable because it keeps your options open as you’ll have a greater breadth of experience. If you like variety in your job, remaining generalist is a good avenue for you to explore. There are also more jobs available although there is more competition for those roles.

However, as the world of work continues to change rapidly and with more legislation for employers to follow, HR professionals are expected to know much more. As recruitment company Robert Walters points out, specialist HR professionals will be “particularly highly sought after” in the next year. Although there aren’t as many jobs for specialists at the moment, the salaries are higher and the demand will increase.

If want to find out more about which path to choose, try our new download: ‘The Complete HR Career Development Guide’. We spoke to a range of HR professionals who have chosen both routes and who share their experience and advice with us. The guide is also packed with all the information you need to progress your career in HR including job roles, salaries and qualifications.

Take the next step in your HR career and download our guide now!