Human Resources Manager Job Description and Salary

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A human resources (HR) manager oversees the personnel functions of an organization including compensation, benefits, employee relations, HR information systems, training, workforce planning, recruitment and employment, and health and safety.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (which calculates growth in 10-year increments), employment of HR managers is projected to grow by 9% between 2016 to 2026, about as fast as average for all occupations. As new companies form and organizations expand their operations, they need HR managers to oversee and administer their programs. Human resources managers are also required to ensure that firms adhere to changing and complex employment laws.

Applying for a job as an HR manager? Learn what you can expect to see in terms of a job description, education and training requirements, and median salary.

Human Resources Job Description

Human resources managers develop personnel policies in consultation with senior executives and department heads. HR managers also hire, train, and supervise human resource specialists and human resources assistants. Additionally, HR managers are tasked with creating strategic recruitment and succession planning to create a workforce strong enough to meet the future goals of the organization.

HR managers work in private companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions. Those employed at small organizations tend to be generalists (juggling many responsibilities) while those at larger organizations may specialize in a particular HR discipline such as employment or benefits.

Typically, human resources managers work full-time in offices. About one in three HR managers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According PayScale’s survey data, human resources managers report high job satisfaction, with the majority describing themselves as extremely satisfied with their work.

Education and Training Requirements

HR managers need strong interpersonal skills. They often have to manage tough situations in the workplace that require the ability to communicating with people effectively. Because this role often involves mediating disputes, experience with and training in conflict management would be a plus. Other key skills include decision-making skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, and speaking skills.

Typically, HR managers have a bachelor's degree in business administration or HR management. Some managers pursue other majors in the liberal arts, such as psychology, and specialize at the master's level. Other degrees at the bachelor’s level that would be acceptable include finance, business management, education, or information technology. Those looking to advance further up the corporate ladder (or seeking a job with a Fortune 50 company) typically acquire an MBA with a concentration in HR management or a master's degree in HR management.

One of the key benefits of a career in HR is that there are many different opportunities to choose from. HR managers can develop advanced knowledge in specialty areas within the field such as labor relations, compensation, benefits, leadership development, employee engagement, and talent acquisition. The Society for Human Resource Management offers training modules in many of these specialized areas.

Human Resources Manager Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR managers earned median pay of $110,120 in 2017 or $52.94 per hour. The lowest-earning 10 percent of HR managers earned less than $65,040, and the highest 10 percent made more than $197,720.

Some industries pay higher wages than others for these positions. The highest paying industries for HR managers in 2017 were related to finance, cable and subscription programming, computer manufacturing, and scientific research. The highest concentration of human resource manager jobs was in management of companies and enterprises, office administrative services, consulting, and audio and video equipment manufacturing. 

The states where human resources managers earned the most on average in 2017 were New Jersey, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, New York, and California. The states with the highest employment levels for these jobs were California, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Florida.

As with many occupations, education tends to boost earnings. Candidates with certification or a master’s degree—particularly those with a concentration in HR management—have the best job prospects. According to PayScale, skills like performance management and organizational development tend to raise pay.