How to become a
Industrial relations officers manage employment conditions and related
Australian Catholic University National
Brisbane Campus
Industrial relations officers aim to encourage employees and employers
to work towards effective organisational practices. They may represent
industrial, commercial, union, employer or other organisations in industrial
Central Queensland University
Bundaberg, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay and Rockhampton
Campuses and Distance Education
Industrial relations officers may perform the following tasks:
advise on the operation of industrial awards and agreements
undertake negotiations on rates of pay and conditions of employment
for employees and employers
develop and administer policies on different employee classifications,
wage structures and related matters
establish and maintain good relationships between employers and
examine and attempt to resolve industrial disputes and grievances in
the workplace (e.g. by acting as the management representative in
discussions with trade unions about the effects of technological change
on the duties of employees in a manufacturing workshop)
study and interpret relevant industrial legislation (the laws formulated
by parliament to control industrial practices in the workplace)
advise others on the proper procedures for carrying out negotiations
and on the special regulations relating to employment and salary
conduct research into particular industrial relations issues (e.g. the
effects of changes in work practices on productivity)
represent an industrial group as a representative before industrial
advise on or develop and negotiate enterprise-based agreements.
The work of industrial relations officers varies according to where they are
employed. Those working for organisations with a large workforce aim to
minimise industrial disputes by acting as a communication link between
management and employees. Those working for employer associations or
trade unions aim to protect the interests and maximise the benefits of the
group they are representing.
Personal Requirements:
good communication skills
good conflict-resolution skills
willing to work within rules (legislative and legal).
Education and Training:
To become an industrial relations officer you usually have to complete a
degree at university with a focus on industrial relations or human resource
management. To get into these courses you usually need to pass your
QCE. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of
English, and mathematics A, B or C are normally required. Applicants may
also be required to attend an interview, sit a written test or supply a written
school reference. The various universities have different prerequisites and
some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the
universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may
Degree Courses:
The following universities offer degree courses with a major in industrial
relations or human resource management, 3 years full time or equivalent.
Griffith University
Gold Coast, Logan and Nathan Campuses
James Cook University
Cairns and Townsville Campuses
Queensland University of Technology
Caboolture and Gardens Point Campuses
Southern Cross University
Tweed Gold Coast Campus
University of Queensland
St Lucia Campus
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba and Springfield Campuses and Distance Education
University of the Sunshine Coast
Employment Opportunities:
Industrial relations officers may be employed by large private or public
sector organisations, employer associations, trade unions or the
government. Some may progress to consultant and principal consultant
within organisations or work for themselves. Their duties often include
human resource management.
New graduates may have difficulty in obtaining immediate employment in
industrial relations and may have to work initially in a related field, such as
human resources. Prospects are better for experienced industrial relations
officers who have proven their ability in this area.
For Further Information:
Australian Industrial Relations Commission (QLD)
Australian Human Resources Institute (National Office)
Queensland Council of Unions