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Human Resources Manager Job Description, Career as a Human Resources Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$81,810 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Human resources managers manage the needs of a company's employees. They develop and manage employment programs, salary compensation and job evaluations, benefits, promotions, equal opportunity initiatives, and education and training programs. In large companies one human resources manager may be in charge of each of these areas. However, in small or medium companies the human resources manager may manage the human resources operation of the entire business.

Human resources managers must be highly qualified and experienced. There are many state and federal regulations in place to protect employees, and the manager must know and follow these regulations. If a company's hiring or promotion policies do not follow these regulations, the government may penalize it.

Human resources managers focus on people and their needs. For example, a human resources manager's responsibilities in the benefits area may extend from Human resources managers focus on people and their needs. To be effective they should be knowledgeable about all areas of human resources as well as every aspect of the company. (© G. Baden/zefa/Corbis.) researching and planning programs to processing individual benefit claims, depending on the size of the department. In addition to managing human resources programs, human resources managers usually supervise other employees.

In industries that are unionized, human resources managers deal with relations between labor and upper management. They read union contracts to help upper management comply with the terms of the contracts. They examine workers' grievances and try to help settle disagreements between labor and management.

Human resources managers' tasks can be extremely interesting and varied. They develop plans for finding applicants to fill job openings. Then they interview and, where necessary, test these applicants. These managers use their knowledge of job evaluation to fit the employees into the proper jobs. They use their knowledge of salary compensation to calculate employees' salaries and to make sure that the company's entire salary program is competitive with that of other companies. Human resources managers may also develop programs that increase employees' skills, strengthen their managerial ability, or provide career counseling.

Education and Training Requirements

Human resources managers must have excellent skills in management techniques, budgeting, counseling, business planning, and organization and systems design. They should have a knowledge of all the human resources areas, including benefits, salary compensation, employment, equal opportunity, payroll, and career planning.

Most human resources managers are college graduates. Many hold a master's degree. Because many different skills are needed, many educational backgrounds are acceptable to employers. Particularly valuable majors include those in human resources, business administration, political science, and psychology.

Getting the Job

Although employment agencies may list job openings, large companies usually fill human resources management jobs from within the company. To do the job properly, human resources managers must know every aspect of the company. This knowledge comes from experience. Classified sections of newspapers or career sites on the Internet may carry ads for these positions.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

In large companies human resources managers may rise to managerial or executive status. Those who work for smaller companies may have to move to other companies to advance to a higher level.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources managers held 157,000 jobs in 2004. Employment of human resources managers was expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. More and more companies are viewing human resources departments as being crucial to the well-being of the organization and will continue to expand their human resources departments to take care of the needs of the growing workforce. Increasingly complex benefit packages and labor laws also will create a demand for more human resources managers.

Working Conditions

Human resources managers usually work in a pleasant office setting. They spend a great deal of time interviewing people, talking on the phone, and in meetings. They must work well with people. To recruit new employees or take part in conferences and seminars, they may be required to travel. Human resources managers generally work more than a forty-hour week.

Where to Go for More Information

International Personnel Management Association for Human Resources
1617 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-7100

Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-3440

Earnings and Benefits

The median yearly salary for human resources managers was $81,810 in 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $118,800 per year. Salaries vary depending on the size, type, and location of the business. Benefits usually include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans. Some human resources managers participate in company-sponsored stock option or profit sharing plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHuman Resources