Most companies realize that their success depends on developing and retaining the right employees, which is why human resource (HR) managers play such a critical role in organizations worldwide. These in-demand professionals keep their employers competitive by strategizing and planning for a company’s personnel needs, and then creating effective policies and programs to attract and retain the best workers. A bachelor's degree in human resources management can create the solid foundation needed to succeed as a human resource manager.
Job Outlook for Human Resource Managers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of human resource managers will grow faster than the average for all occupations in the coming years. Job growth will occur as changes in employment law, healthcare, retirement plans, family leave and labor relations spurs demand for professionals with human resources expertise. The best job prospects are likely to go to college graduates with a well-rounded education, including specialized training in human resources and industry certification.
Human resource managers are generally responsible for administering compensation and benefits policies and serving as a link between management and employees. They handle questions and concerns about pay, benefits, job descriptions, vacations and corporate policies. Other duties of HR managers include recruiting and hiring new employees, and administering orientation and training programs.
As part of a company’s senior management team, human resource managers often participate in planning and strategy. They are also responsible for executing the organization’s objectives as they relate to personnel. For example, to ensure competitive employment offers and retain valued employees, HR managers must research and analyze industry-standard salaries and benefits to develop attractive compensation packages.
Improving morale, increasing productivity and reducing turnover are other important aspects of a human resource manager’s job. HR managers also typically handle employee disciplinary actions, layoffs and terminations according to labor laws and company policies.
Human resource managers often supervise specialists in areas such as payroll, training, development, recruiting and benefits. Larger companies may have several staff members in each of these areas, all reporting to the human resource manager – who is often ultimately responsible for activities such as paying payroll taxes, filing employer and insurance reports, and administering programs such as transportation, wellness and employee assistance.
Additionally, human resource managers often make recommendations to executive management regarding policies for hiring, terminating and compensating employees. Their goal is to minimize risk and liability by ensuring applicable local, state and federal employment laws are adhered to.
Most human resource managers work in an office setting, and a standard 40-hour week is the norm. Overtime may occasionally be required. Some HR managers travel extensively, especially in the case of large companies with multiple locations.
Human Resource Manager Potential Salary
According to BLS data from May 2015, human resource managers earned an average annual salary of $117,080. Salaries for the lower quartile were around $79,230, while the upper quartile earned $141,860. Recent bachelor's graduates will generally start out in HR specialist or generalist positions at a correspondingly lower salary, and move into manager-level roles once they have attained sufficient experience. The top salaries generally go to human resource managers with extensive experience, advanced education and industry certification.
Education and Training
For the majority of human resource manager jobs, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required. Some employers may favor candidates with a graduate degree. Success in this field is enhanced with a broad knowledge base that includes social sciences, business, finance and law, as well as specialized training in human resources. In addition, many HR managers hold industry certification, such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) or Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®) credentials available from the HR Certification Institute.
A successful human resource manager career can begin with enrolling in a bachelor's degree program with a major in human resources management, business administration, applied psychology with a concentration in organizational psychology or a related field. HR coursework typically includes management of human resources, training and development, compensation and benefits, and administrative and personnel law.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a human resources management program are able to:
- Implement employee training and development programs that keep pace with a changing business environment.
- Demonstrate best practices for attracting, assessing, acquiring and terminating personnel.
- Understand legal perspectives on wages, benefits, pay equity and job evaluation.
- Sit for the PHR® and GPHR® certification exams and achieve industry certification.
- Leverage advanced skills and knowledge to succeed as a human resource manager.
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to further your education.
Are You Considering a Career as a Human Resource Manager?
To succeed in a human resource manager position, it’s imperative to possess strong leadership skills, excellent written and verbal communication abilities, computer proficiency, business savvy and interpersonal skills. Additional attributes needed for this profession are the ability to work well under pressure, handle sensitive issues with diplomacy and demonstrate respect for people from all backgrounds. By combining a human resources administration minor with a bachelor’s degree program, you can develop the skills and knowledge required to advance into a human resource manager career!