Careers in Human Resource ManagementIn a nutshell: A career in human resources management might be ideal if you want to help both individuals and organizations perform at their best. Human resources managers are necessary in every industry and at companies of all sizes. 

While most in business management focus on maximizing profits, a human resources manager’s goal is to maximize potential – human potential.

Human resources management involves seeking out and acquiring the best talent available to help a business meet its goals. Human resources management also involves making sure workers are satisfied and able to work effectively, while at the same time ensuring that management’s objectives are met.

Human resources managers are the link between management and staff. They also are in charge of recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff.

Interpersonal and management skills are crucial for human resources managers, as are critical thinking and decision-making.

A Human Resources Manager’s Job Duties

  • Planning and coordinating an organization’s workforce to put employees’ talents to their best use
  • Provide a link between an organization’s management and its employees by answering questions, administering employee services and resolving work-related issues
  • Advising managers on organizational policies including equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment
  • Coordinating and supervising the work of specialists and support staff
  • Overseeing an organization’s recruitment, interviewing, selection and hiring processes
  • Handling staffing issues, including mediating disputes, firing employees and directing disciplinary procedures

Smaller organizations may have a single manager in charge of all aspects of human resources. Larger organizations may have several managers handling different aspects.

5 Distinct Human Resources Careers

Labor Relations Managers or Employee Relations Managers: Labor relations managers are in charge of employment policies in both union and non-union workplaces. They draw up, negotiate and administer labor contracts covering issues such as grievances, wages, benefits, and union and management practices. They also oversee labor complaints between employees and management and coordinate grievance procedures.

Payroll Managers: Payroll managers handle the operations of an organization’s payroll department. They make sure that all aspects of payroll are processed correctly and on time. They oversee payroll procedures, prepare reports for the accounting department, and resolve payroll problems or discrepancies.

Recruiting Managers or Staffing Managers: Recruiting managers are in charge of recruiting and hiring. They often supervise a recruiting team and some take on recruiting duties when trying to fill high-level positions. They develop recruiting strategies to help them meet their organization’s staffing needs and to effectively compete for the best employees.

Compensation and Benefits Managers. Compensation managers oversee how and how much an organization pays its employees. Benefits managers perform similar duties regarding retirement plans, health insurance and other benefits an organization offers its employees.

Training and Development Managers. Training and development managers are in charge of programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees. They also may oversee a staff of training and development specialists.

Job seekers may find some human resources management positions requiring only a bachelor’s degree, but many organizations prefer a master’s, and training and development management positions almost always require a master’s in human resources management or similar degree.

Likely fields of study for potential human resources managers include training and development, human resources management, organizational development or business administration.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median pay for human resources managers was $110,120 a year in 2017. The number of jobs available is expected to grow at 9 percent per year.


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