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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, coordinate, and direct 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
  • Plan and oversee employee benefit programs
  • Serve as a consultant to advise other managers on human resources issues, 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

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

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

Some human resources managers oversee all aspects of an organization’s human resources department, including the compensation and benefits program and the training and development program. 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 directors, also called employee relations managers, oversee employment policies in union and nonunion settings. They negotiate, draft, and administer labor contracts that cover issues such as wages, benefits, and union and management practices. They also handle labor complaints between employees and management, and they coordinate grievance procedures.

Payroll managers supervise 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 payroll problems.

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 for filling high-level positions. They must develop a recruiting strategy that helps them meet the staffing needs of their organization and compete effectively to attract the best employees.

Work Environment About this section

Human resources managers held about 165,200 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of human resources managers were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services 14%
Management of companies and enterprises 14
Manufacturing 11
Government 9
Healthcare and social assistance 8

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

Work Schedules

Most human resources managers work full time during regular business hours. Some human resources managers work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Human Resources Manager About this section

Human resources managers
Human resources managers typically need a combination of a bachelor's degree and work experience.

Candidates typically need a combination of education and several years of related work experience to become a human resources manager. Although most positions require a bachelor’s degree, some require a master’s degree.

Education

Human resources managers usually need a bachelor’s degree. Candidates may earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources or in another field, such as business management, education, or information technology. Courses in subjects such as conflict management or psychology may be helpful.

Some jobs may require a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations, or business administration (MBA).

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

To demonstrate abilities in organizing, directing, and leading others, human resources managers must have related work experience. Some managers start out as human resources specialists or labor relations specialists.

Management positions typically require an understanding of human resources programs, such as compensation and benefits plans; human resources software; and federal, state, and local employment laws.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, it shows professional expertise and credibility, and it may enhance job opportunities. Employers may prefer to hire candidates with certification, and some positions may require it. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR Certification Institute (HRCI), WorldatWork, and International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans are among many professional associations that offer certification programs.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Human resources managers need strong speaking, writing, and listening skills to give presentations and direct their staff.

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.

Interpersonal skills. Human resources managers regularly interact with people, such as to collaborate on teams, and must develop working relationships with their colleagues.

Leadership skills. Human resources managers must coordinate work activities and ensure that staff complete the duties and responsibilities of their department.

Organizational skills. Human resources managers must be able to prioritize tasks and manage several projects at once.

Pay About this section

Human Resources Managers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Operations specialties managers

$120,960

Human resources managers

$116,720

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for human resources managers was $116,720 in May 2019. 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 $68,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $205,720.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for human resources managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $131,340
Management of companies and enterprises 129,510
Manufacturing 115,000
Government 102,660
Healthcare and social assistance 99,380

Most human resources managers work full time during regular business hours. Some human resources managers work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook About this section

Human Resources Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Operations specialties managers

9%

Human resources managers

6%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

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

Human resources managers also will be needed to ensure that firms adhere to changing and complex employment laws regarding topics such as equal employment opportunity, healthcare, and retirement plans.

Job Prospects

About 13,300 openings for human resources managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Candidates with certification or a master’s degree—particularly those with a concentration in human resources management—should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for human resources managers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Human resources managers

11-3121 165,200 175,600 6 10,400 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

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

Society for Human Resource Management

HR Certification Institute

International Public Management Association for Human Resources

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

Association for Talent Development

International Society for Performance Improvement

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Human Resources Managers

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