Human Resources Management Careers

NUMBER OF JOBS

71,800

JOB OPENINGS

9,300

JOB GROWTH

13%

AVG. SALARY

$99,180 /yr

$47.68 /hr

All Stats from BLS.gov

Human resources directors and managers serve as the primary connection between a company or organization and its most important asset—its workforce. Human resources managers often do many different things, with duties spanning policy establishment and documentation, hiring and recruitment, personnel training and development, administering employee payroll and benefits, creating motivational strategies, resolving conflicts, and serving as an advisor to management staff.

HR managers may also mediate conflicts, manage firings and disciplinary procedures, and establishing conflict mitigation, sexual harassment, and discrimination policies for the company. They can be involved in setting pricing strategy, establishing the requirements for particular jobs, identifying qualities desirable in strong candidates, and overseeing employee development.

A company’s strongest asset is the people it employs—and much of a Human Resource Director’s job involves setting the policies and programs that attract, motivate, and retain qualified, talented people.

Human Resource Management Job Descriptions

Human Resources is a broad field with many different opportunities for specialization. In some companies, human resources managers may undertake several or all of these roles. In larger companies, however, there are more likely to be HR specialists focusing on one or two aspects of the job. These include:

Labor relations. Labor relations managers serve as a first line of communication between a company and its union. They might negotiate labor contracts, manage grievance procedures, liaise with union representatives, and establish wages, benefits, and union / management practices in consultation with union staff.

Payroll and benefits. Payroll and benefits managers process and administer a company’s payroll. They prepare reporting for accounting staff and manage payroll issues for employees. In addition, they may be involved in choosing proper benefits programs, encouraging signup, and explaining company benefits to employees.

Recruitment and hiring. Recruitment managers oversee attraction and hiring of suitable employees, ensuring that the workforce meets the company’s needs. They may establish partnerships with colleges to get access to pools of employees; develop hiring incentives and salary strategy; and oversee interviews and candidate selection.

Training and development. Training and development specialists lead training and orientation sessions, on-the-job training, and online learning activities. They monitor the success of training programs and develop new curriculums to meet changing business needs. They may oversee certification or licensure if required by the industry or government law. And they may develop tuition reimbursement programs encouraging employees to advance their educations.

Risk management. Specialists in this area are often responsible for mitigating employee-related risk to the company. They may administer health and safety programs, perform safety inspections, and assure worksite compliance with government safety regulations. They may also develop safety, harassment, conflict management, diversity, and other key policies and procedures that protect both companies and employees.

How to Become a Human Resources Director

A Bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level human resources jobs require a Bachelor’s degree. While a degree in HR helps get the attention of employers, many colleges don’t offer Bachelor’s programs focused only in this area. Degrees focused on business, finance, education, information technology, or communications can also be valuable in the field.

Master’s degree. Some leadership positions within Human Resources require a Master’s degree. A Master’s in human resources is often the most valuable degree, although an MBA or an MBA with a focus in human resources or a related field can help. A Master’s can also be valuable for lower-level candidates without a degree or work experience relevant to human resources, as it demonstrates both an educational background and commitment to the field.

Certification. Human resources is not a field regulated by the federal government—so there are no compulsory licenses or certifications. There are, however, optional professional certifications that can demonstrate your expertise and strengthen your application for a job in human resources.

Perhaps the most well-known is the Society for Human Resource Management, which offers numerous certifications including the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). These certifications require anywhere from one to seven years of hands-on professional experience, depending on the degree you hold and the type of certification you’re going for. Visit the SHRM website for more information on their requirements for different types of certifications.

Becoming a Human Resources Manager with an Online Degree 

Opinions about online degrees in the field of human resources are mixed. While some hiring managers view accredited online college degrees as roughly equal to a traditional degree, others might hold biases—unfounded or not.

That doesn’t mean you can’t attend an accredited online degree program and earn a respected degree. It does, however, mean being careful about your school’s reputation in the field. Do some research first—get opinions from hiring managers and others who work in the types of companies you’re interested in working for.

You can also avoid most instances of bias against online degrees by choosing an online or partially-online program at a well-known brick-and-mortar school. Often, your diploma won’t list the fact that you earned your degree online—and employers won’t be able to tell the difference.

Human Resource Management Salary

Human resource managers earned a median wage of $99,180 in 2010, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The lower end of the earnings bracket is around $61,560, while some earn more than $166,400 per year.

Job Outlook for Human Resource Directors

Job growth in this field is projected to keep up with employment at 13% in the coming decade—not terrible, but not impressive, either. Generally, companies hire new human resource personnel when they’re growing—and may let departments go understaffed when they have to tighten their belts. Growth in this field will likely depend on growth in the economy as a whole.

Where to Find Certified Financial Planner Jobs:

SHRM Jobs Board

HR Job Board

Indeed.com