Human Resources Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Human Resources Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Human Resources Managers

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 with other managers advising them 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

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 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 the organization's strategic planning and talent management issues. 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 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 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 they 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 they try to fill high-level positions. They must develop a recruiting strategy that helps them meet the staffing needs of their organization and compete effectively for the best employees.

Work Environment for Human Resources Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Human resources managers hold about 136,100 jobs. The largest employers of human resources managers are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises 14%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Manufacturing 13
Government 10
Healthcare and social assistance 9

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 recruit employees.

Human Resources Manager Work Schedules

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

About 1 in 3 human resources managers work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Human Resources Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Human Resources Managers near you!

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.

Education for Human Resources Managers

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 finance, business management, education, or information technology. Courses in subjects such as conflict management or industrial psychology may be helpful.

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

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Human Resources Managers

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 for Human Resources Managers

Although certification is voluntary, it can show professional expertise and credibility, and it may enhance advancement opportunities. Many employers prefer to hire certified candidates, and some positions may require certification. 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 a variety of certification programs.

Important Qualities for Human Resources Managers

Decisionmaking 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 operations or workers, such as deciding whether to hire an employee.

Interpersonal skills. Human resources managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly 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, who must be able to prioritize tasks and manage several projects at once.

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

Human Resources Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for human resources managers is $106,910. 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 $63,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $193,550.

The median annual wages for human resources managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises $121,390
Professional, scientific, and technical services 120,980
Manufacturing 103,200
Government 95,950
Healthcare and social assistance 91,250

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

About 1 in 3 human resources managers work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Human Resources Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as 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 oversee and administer their programs.

Human resources managers also will be needed to ensure that firms adhere to changing and complex employment laws regarding occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, healthcare, wages, and retirement plans.

See all HR jobs.

Job Prospects for Human Resources Managers

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

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, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Human resources managers 136,100 148,300 9 12,200


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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