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
2015 Median Pay $104,440 per year
$50.21 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 122,500
Job Outlook, 2014-24 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 10,800

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 $104,440 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. As new companies form and organizations expand their operations, they will need human resources managers to oversee and administer their programs, and to ensure firms adhere to changing and complex employment laws. Strong competition can be expected for most positions.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for human resources managers.

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
  • Plan and oversee employee benefit programs
  • Serve as a consultant with other managers advising them on human resource 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 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 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 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 122,500 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most human resources managers were as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises 15%
Manufacturing 14
Professional, scientific, and technical services 12
Government 10
Healthcare and social assistance 10

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 1 in 3 human resources managers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

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 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. There are bachelor’s degree programs in human resources. Alternatively, candidates may complete a bachelor’s degree 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

To demonstrate abilities in organizing, directing, and leading others, related work experience is essential for human resources managers. Some managers start out as human resources specialists or labor relations specialists. Others gain management experience in a variety of fields.

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 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 Society for Human Resource Management, Human Resource Certification Institute, WorldatWork, and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans are among many professional associations that offer a variety of certification programs.

Important Qualities

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 workers or operations, such as deciding whether to hire 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 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.

Pay About this section

Human Resources Managers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Operations specialties managers

$108,260

Human resources managers

$104,440

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for human resources managers was $104,440 in May 2015. 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 $61,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for human resources managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises $118,320
Professional, scientific, and technical services 117,640
Manufacturing 100,710
Government 94,280
Healthcare and social assistance 89,090

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

About 1 in 3 human resources managers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

Job Outlook About this section

Human Resources Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Human resources managers

9%

Operations specialties managers

7%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. 

Employment growth largely depends 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 will also 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. For example, adoption of the Affordable Care Act may spur the need for more human resources managers, who can help to ensure that company policies are in compliance with regulations.

Job Prospects

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

Job opportunities should be good 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 and work experience in human resources programs, policies, and employment law should also have better job opportunities.

Employment projections data for human resources managers, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Human resources managers

11-3121 122,500 133,300 9 10,800 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

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 2015 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, but administrative service managers typically maintain facilities and supervise activities that include recordkeeping, mail distribution, and office upkeep.

Bachelor's degree $86,110
Compensation and benefits managers

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to determine 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 $111,430
compensation benefits and job analysis specialists image

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate position descriptions to determine details such as a person’s classification and salary.

Bachelor's degree $60,850
Human resource specialists

Human Resources Specialists

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

Bachelor's degree $58,350

Labor Relations Specialists

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

Bachelor's degree $58,820
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 $102,690
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 $102,640
training and development specialists image

Training and Development Specialists

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

Bachelor's degree $58,210

Contacts for More Information About this section

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

Society for Human Resource Management

Human Resource Certification Institute

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, 2016-17 Edition, Human Resources Managers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm (visited May 28, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.