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Outlook for Human Resource Management

Business discussion at a table in an office.

The Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that the employment outlook for human resource(HR) managers is projected to grow by 17 percent in the next eight years, faster than the average for all occupations. Legislation and court rulings setting occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, wages, health care, pension, and family leave standards will increase demand for human resources, training, and labor relations experts.

The Department of Labor (DOL) handbook also states that demand may be particularly strong for certain specialists. For example, employers are expected to devote greater resources to job-specific training programs in response to the increasing complexity of many jobs and technological advances that can leave employees with obsolete skills. Additionally, as highly trained and skilled baby boomers retire, there should be strong demand for training and development specialists to impart needed skills to their replacements. In addition, increasing efforts throughout industry to recruit and retain quality employees should create many jobs for employment, recruitment, and placement specialists.

HR Management Salaries
Annual salary rates for human resources workers vary according to occupation, level of experience, training, location, and firm size. In 2015 the median annual earnings of compensation and benefits managers was $104,440. The average was between $61,300 and $180,000.

The median salary for training and development managers was $102,640. The average ranged between $55,870 and $180,360.

HR Management Education and Certification Requirements
College graduates who have earned certification have the best job opportunities. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in human resources, human resources administration, or industrial and labor relations are in demand; those with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education will also find opportunities.

Many colleges and universities have programs leading to a degree in personnel, human resources, or labor relations. Some offer degree programs in human resources administration or human resources management, training and development, or compensation and benefits. Depending on the school, courses leading to a career in human resources management may be found in departments of business administration, education, instructional technology, organizational development, human services, communication, or public administration, or within a separate human resources institution or department.

An advanced (master's) degree is increasingly important for some jobs. Many labor relations jobs require graduate study in industrial or labor relations. A strong background in industrial relations and law is highly desirable for contract negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators; in fact, many people in these specialties are lawyers. A background in law also is desirable for employee benefits managers and others who must interpret the growing number of laws and regulations. A master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources management is highly recommended for those seeking general and top management positions.

In addition to a college degree, certification is seen as a sign of competence and credibility that can enhance your employment and advancement opportunities.

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