Human Resources Managers

Summary

human resources managers image
Human resources managers oversee an organization’s recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring processes.
Quick Facts: Human Resources Managers
2012 Median Pay $99,720 per year
$47.94 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 102,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 13% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 13,600

What Human Resources Managers Do

Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.

Work Environment

Human resources managers are employed in nearly every industry. They work in offices, and most work full time during regular business hours. Some must travel to attend professional meetings or to recruit employees.

How to Become a Human Resources Manager

Candidates need a combination of education and several years of related work experience to become a human resources manager. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most positions, some jobs require a master’s degree. Candidates should have strong interpersonal skills.

Pay

The median annual wage for human resources managers was $99,720 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As new companies form and organizations expand their operations, they will need more human resources staff to oversee and administer their programs. Very strong competition can be expected for most positions.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of human resources managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about human resources managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Human Resources Managers Do About this section

Human resources managers
Human resources managers often coordinate the work of a team of specialists.

Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees. 

Duties

Human resources managers typically do the following:

  • Plan and coordinate an organization’s workforce to best use employees’ talents
  • Link an organization’s management with its employees
  • Administer employee services
  • Advise managers on organizational policies, such as equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment
  • Coordinate and supervise the work of specialists and support staff
  • Oversee an organization’s recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring processes
  • Handle staffing issues, such as mediating disputes and directing disciplinary procedures

Every organization wants to attract, motivate, and keep qualified employees and match them to jobs for which they are well suited. Human resources managers accomplish this by directing the administrative functions of human resource departments. Their work involves overseeing employee relations, regulatory compliance, and employee-related services such as payroll, training, and benefits. They supervise the department’s specialists and support staff and ensure that tasks are completed accurately and on time. 

Human resources managers also consult with top executives regarding the organization’s strategic planning. They identify ways to maximize the value of the organization’s employees and ensure that they are used as efficiently as possible. For example, they might assess worker productivity and recommend changes to the organization’s structure to help it meet budgetary goals. 

Some human resources managers oversee all aspects of an organization’s human resources department, including the compensation and benefits or training and development programs. In many larger organizations, these programs are directed by specialized managers, such as compensation and benefits managers and training and development managers

The following are examples of types of human resources managers:

Labor relations managers, also called employee relations managers, oversee employment policies in union and non-union settings. They draw up, negotiate, and administer labor contracts that cover issues such as grievances, wages, benefits, and union and management practices. They also handle labor complaints between employees and management and coordinate grievance procedures. 

Payroll managers supervise the operations of an organization’s payroll department. They ensure that all aspects of payroll are processed correctly and on time. They administer payroll procedures, prepare reports for the accounting department, and resolve any payroll problems or discrepancies. 

Recruiting managers, sometimes called staffing managers, oversee the recruiting and hiring responsibilities of the human resources department. They often supervise a team of recruiters, and some take on recruiting duties when trying to fill high-level positions. They must develop a recruiting strategy that helps them meet the staffing needs of their organization and effectively compete for the best employees.

Work Environment About this section

Human resources managers
Human resources managers help employees resolve work-related problems.

Human resources managers held about 102,700 jobs in 2012 and were employed in nearly every industry.

The industries that employed the most human resources managers in 2012 were as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises14%
Manufacturing14
Government12
Professional, scientific, and technical services10
Health care and social assistance10

Human resources managers work in offices. Some managers, especially those working for organizations that have offices nationwide, must travel to visit other branches as well as to attend professional meetings or to recruit employees.

Work Schedules

Most human resources managers work full time during regular business hours.

About one-third worked more than 40 hours a week in 2012.

How to Become a Human Resources Manager About this section

Human resources managers
Human resources managers may work with executives to determine hiring needs.

Candidates need a combination of education and several years of related work experience to become a human resources manager. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most positions, some jobs require a master’s degree. Candidates should have strong interpersonal skills.

Education

Human resources managers usually need a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration. Alternatively, candidates can complete a bachelor’s degree in another field and take courses in human resources subjects, such as labor or industrial relations, organizational development, or industrial psychology. Some positions are also filled by experienced individuals with other backgrounds, including finance, business management, education, and information technology. 

Some higher-level jobs require a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

To demonstrate an ability to organize, manage, and lead others, related work experience is essential for human resources managers. Some employers accept management experience in a variety of fields. However, many positions require experience working with human resources programs, such as compensation and benefits plans or with a Human Resources Information System (HRIS), and require a solid understanding of federal, state, and local employment laws.

Others start out as human resources specialists or labor relations specialists.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, it can show professional expertise and credibility and may enhance advancement opportunities. Many employers prefer to hire certified candidates, and some positions may require certification. The HR Certification Institute and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans are among many professional associations that offer a variety of certification programs.

Important Qualities

Decision-making skills. Human resources managers must be able to balance the strengths and weaknesses of different options and decide the best course of action. Many of their decisions have a significant impact on workers or operations, such as deciding whether to fire an employee. 

Interpersonal skills. Human resources managers need strong interpersonal skills because they regularly interact with people. They often collaborate on teams and must develop positive working relationships with their colleagues. 

Leadership skills. Human resources managers must be able to direct a staff and oversee the operations of their department. They must coordinate work activities and ensure that workers in the department complete their duties and fulfill their responsibilities. 

Organizational skills. Organizational skills are essential for human resources managers. They must be able to manage several projects at once and prioritize tasks.

Speaking skills. Human resources managers rely on speaking skills to give presentations and direct their staff. They must clearly communicate information and instructions to their staff and other employees.

Pay About this section

Human Resources Managers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Human resources managers

$99,720

Management occupations

$93,910

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for human resources managers was $99,720 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $59,020, and the top 10 percent earned more than $173,140. 

In May 2012, the median annual wages for human resources managers in the top five industries employing these managers were as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises$112,550
Professional, scientific, and technical services112,210
Manufacturing97,930
Government92,020
Health care and social assistance85,870

Most human resources managers work full time during regular business hours.

About one-third worked more than 40 hours a week in 2012.

 

Job Outlook About this section

Human Resources Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Human resources managers

13%

Total, all occupations

11%

Management occupations

7%

 

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. 

Employment growth largely depends on the performance and growth of individual companies. However, as new companies form and organizations expand their operations, they will need more human resources managers to oversee and administer their programs.

Managers will also be needed to ensure that firms adhere to changing, complex employment laws regarding occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, healthcare, wages, and retirement plans. For example, adoption of the Affordable Care Act may spur the need to hire more managers to help implement this program.

Job Prospects

Although job opportunities are expected to vary based on the staffing needs of individual companies, very strong competition can be expected for most positions.

Job opportunities should be best in the management of companies and enterprises industry as organizations continue to use outside firms to assist with some of their human resources functions. 

Candidates with certification or a master’s degree—particularly those with a concentration in human resources management—should have the best job prospects.

Those with a solid background in human resources programs, policies, and employment law should also have better job opportunities.

Employment projections data for human resources managers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Human resources managers

11-3121 102,700 116,300 13 13,600 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of human resources managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Administrative services managers

Administrative Services Managers

Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate supportive services of an organization. Their specific responsibilities vary by the type of organization and may include keeping records, distributing mail, and planning and maintaining facilities.

Bachelor’s degree $81,080
Compensation and benefits managers

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation managers plan, direct, and coordinate how much an organization pays its employees and how employees are paid. Benefits managers plan, direct, and coordinate retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits that an organization offers its employees.

Bachelor’s degree $95,250
Human resource specialists

Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, payroll and benefits, and training. Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, employee welfare, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

Bachelor’s degree $55,640
Top executives

Top Executives

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Bachelor’s degree $101,650
Training and development managers

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees. They also oversee a staff of training and development specialists.

Bachelor’s degree $95,400
training and development specialists image

Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.

Bachelor’s degree $55,930

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about human resources managers, including certification, visit

Society for Human Resource Management

For information about careers and certification in employee compensation and benefits, visit

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

WorldatWork

For information about careers in employee training and development and certification, visit

American Society for Training and Development

International Society for Performance Improvement

O*NET

Human Resources Managers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Human Resources Managers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm (visited December 20, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014