Master of Science in Human Resources Management
Human Resources Careers
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers.
They also may handle human resources work in a variety of other areas, such
as employee relations, payroll and benefits, and training.
Human resources specialists typically do the following:
- Consult with employers to identify employment needs and preferred qualifications
- Interview applicants about their experience, education, training, and skills
- Contact references and perform background checks on job applicants
- Inform applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
- Hire or refer qualified candidates for employers
- Conduct or help with new employee orientation
- Keep employment records and process paperwork
Many specialists are trained in all human resources disciplines and do tasks
throughout all areas of the department. In addition to recruiting and placing
workers, these specialists help guide employees through all human resources
procedures and answer questions about policies. They often administer benefits,
process payroll, and handle any associated questions or problems. They also
ensure that all human resources functions comply with federal, state, and local
The following are types of human resources specialists:
Employment interviewers work in an employment office and interview potential applicants for job openings. They then refer suitable candidates to employers for consideration.
Human resources generalists handle all aspects of human resources work. They may have duties in all areas of human resources including recruitment, employee relations, payroll and benefits, training, and administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs.
Labor relations specialists interpret and administer a labor contract, regarding issues such as wages and salaries, employee welfare, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices. They also handle grievance procedures, which are a formal process through which employees can make complaints.
Placement specialists match employers with qualified jobseekers. They search for candidates who have the skills, education, and work experience needed for jobs, and they try to place those candidates with employers. They also may help set up interviews.
Recruitment specialists, sometimes known as personnel recruiters, find, screen, and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. They search for job applicants by posting job listings, attending job fairs, and visiting college campuses. They also may test applicants, contact references, and extend job offers.
Employment interviewers speak with applicants and ask them questions before referring them to appropriate jobs.
Human resources specialists held about 442,200 jobs in 2010 and are employed in nearly every industry. About 17 percent worked in the employment services industry, which includes employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations. Because hiring needs may vary throughout the year, many organizations contract recruitment and placement work to outside human resources firms rather than keep permanent human resources specialists on staff.
Human resources specialists generally work in offices. Some, particularly recruitment specialists, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants. Most work full time.
The median annual wage of human resources specialists was $52,690 in May 2010. 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 $29,050, and the top 10 percent earned more than $93,260.
Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of human resources specialists in May 2010 were:
|Federal government, excluding postal service||$77,370|
|Management of companies and enterprises||58,220|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||48,660|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||44,810|
Many human resources specialists, particularly recruiters, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants. Most work full time.
Employment of human resources specialists is expected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
Specifically, employment will increase 55 percent in the employment services industry. About 17 percent of human resources specialists work in this industry, which includes employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations. Organizations will continue to outsource human resources functions to professional employer organizations—companies that provide human resources services to client businesses. Additionally, rather than having recruiters and interviewers on staff, these businesses will contract preliminary staffing work to employment placement and temporary staffing agencies as needed.
In other industries, employment growth largely depends on the growth of individual firms. As firms grow, they will expand their human resources departments to continue to provide the same level of services and functions. Companies will need human resources specialists to find replacements for workers leaving the workforce, and companies are increasingly emphasizing the importance of finding and keeping quality employees. In addition, organizations will likely need more human resources generalists to handle increasingly complex employment laws and health care coverage options.
Employment growth of human resources specialists, however, may be tempered as companies better use available technologies. Rather than sending recruiters to colleges and job fairs, for example, some employers increasingly have their entire recruiting and application process online. In addition, some of the tasks of generalists can be automated or made more efficient using Human Resources Information Systems—software that allows workers to quickly manage, process, or update human resource information.
Overall job opportunities for human resources specialists are expected
to be favorable. Opportunities should be best in the employment services industry,
as companies continue to outsource portions of their human resources functions
to other firms.
Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and related work experience should have the best job prospects. Human resources generalists, in particular, also may benefit from having knowledge of human resources programs, employment laws, and human resources information systems.
|Employment projections data for human resources specialists, 2010-20|
|Occupational Title||SOC Code||Employment, 2010||Projected Employment, 2020||Change, 2010-20||Employment by Industry|
|SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program|
|Human Resources, Training, and Labor Relations Specialists, All Other||13-1078|