|Number of Jobs:||61,600|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#17|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#72|
Human resources (HR) jobs may literally involve any aspect of an employer's workforce—recruitment, hiring, training, employee benefits, compensation, job enrichment, relocation, performance, termination, and outplacement. The smaller the employer, the more likely it is that these duties will be shared among fewer and fewer staffers. So it's crucial that those seeking HR jobs become their own HR advocates in the process. They should know exactly the duties they will be asked to perform and the expected experience and skill levels expected for the position. Job growth will be especially strong at employment services firms, as employers continue to outsource some HR functions and the pace of hiring picks up as the economy recovers. HR professionals need to be as diverse and flexible as their employers' workplaces. Jobs often feature flexible hours and telecommuting, collaborating with employees who may be based anywhere in the world, and project teams that form and fade away as needs dictate. A college degree is usually required, including strong business and management coursework. There is a good career-advancement chain at larger companies. Top performers can reach high management positions, or may move to an HR consulting firm.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 20.5 percent employment growth in this field between 2010 and 2020. That's 61,600 new jobs and 36,700 replacement jobs. There were 436,090 HR specialists in 2011. This is expected to be a rapid-growth field as the economy continues to recover from the recession.
According to the BLS, HR specialists had a median salary of $54,310 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent made an average of $94,700, while the lowest-paid 10 percent were paid $29,850, on average. Petroleum and coal products makers, software publishers, and the executive branch of the federal government paid the highest salaries. The highest-paid worked in Washington, D.C., and the California metro areas of San Jose and San Francisco.
If you're just starting out, you'll need an internship to be considered for even an entry-level HR job, says Deb Cohen, senior vice president of knowledge development at the industry's largest professional association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). "Even if you have a great degree from a great school, you still need experience to get hired." By contrast, she notes, "If it's somebody who's experienced in HR, they need to make sure they are involved in professional associations. Networking is basically the answer" to being favorably considered for a job that requires experience. So is getting certified in one of the profession's increasingly specialized areas, such as in compensation or training. "It's not the same thing as a license, but it declares that you know the body of knowledge in the profession."
The field is growing again, Cohen says, but it's very much a buyer's market for HR positions these days. Many companies downsized during the recession, and as they staff back up, they have the luxury of looking at lots of qualified candidates. Cohen says the most attractive candidates are very focused. "In the past, people could get into HR on purpose or sort of fall into the job," she says. "Today, you need specific qualifications. The field is not just about liking people. It's really about knowing the technical side of the job," including HR laws and the employer's business objectives.
It's also about having a strategic grasp of how HR can help the employer meets its goals. "The ticket for entry is knowing your nuts and bolts," Cohen says. "But it's also showing the business acumen and showing the ability to work as a strategic partner in advancing the interests of the organization."
|Stress Level||Above Average|