A Successful Future in Human Resources
Since the 1960’s, when human resources became a widely recognized career field, the human resources sector at companies and organizations across the world has expanded greatly. Originally, human resources were brought into the work place to help manage the work force. Those employed in human resources departments were responsible for maintaining and stimulating work place productivity, as well as handling various situations such as hiring practices and ensuring that work environments adhered to the laws. Today, human resources as a career has grown into its own industry. People emerging in this field have specialization in creating retirement plans, implementing career safety programs, and introducing new technology to employees.
While much of the job market continues to struggle in today’s unstable economy, the field of human resources has experienced expansion as companies and organizations are more heavily relying on this department to help create plans and strategies that can be used to create job growth, productivity, and even increase profits.
Entering into this rewarding field can be challenging but certainly attainable for anyone willing to take the necessary steps to be considered a qualified and valuable candidate for a job in human resources. The degree and certification requirements can vary, as can the necessary skill sets, but one can easily begin to a map a future career in this field with enough planning and persistence.
Is Human Resources Right For You?
Most human resources jobs share a few key aspects in common and others vary greatly from the responsibilities expected of the position. In general, human resources positions are responsible for the overall management of the workforce. This usually doesn’t include specific job related tasks but is more closely concerned with an employee’s overall performance and relationship with the company or organization. An example would be keeping records of the productivity level of employees to determine if certain employees are falling below expectations or if some are exceeding those expectations.
Other basic responsibilities may include documenting employee grievances, either against the company or a co-worker, and helping to provide training programs for new employees. Depending on the company or organization, other responsibilities associated with human resources may include:
- Planning Retirement Packages
- Enforcing A Drug-Free Workplace
- Creating Programs and Incentives
- Maintaining a Healthy Work Environment
- Overseeing Hiring and Termination Practices
- Integrating New Technology
- Purchasing and Providing Employee Insurance
Behind all of these responsibilities is a strong need for someone working in human resources to have strong communication and interpersonal skills. It is also necessary to meet high standards of professionalism as there is a lot of confidence placed in the human resources department. Additional skills, such as being bilingual or having a high degree of proficiency with technology, can also assist someone interested in this career.
Where are Human Resources Jobs Found?
Most companies and organizations have some form of job that handles human resources, and larger companies and organizations have entire departments dedicated to the field. The range of locations where you can find a job in human resources is broad and still expanding. A few examples of where you might find a position or department dedicated to human resources include:
- Colleges and Universities
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Law Firms
- Large Retail Chains
- Development Firms
- Insurance Companies
- Companies (usually with 20 or more employees)
Just about any place that employees more than 20 people will usually have some sort of human resources position or department to oversee their workforce. Another benefit of a job in human resources is that you won’t be geographically challenged. You can work in just about every part of the world, meaning you will have more freedom to choose where you want to live instead of having to work where the jobs are- they’re everywhere!
How Much Does it Pay?
If human resources sound like the perfect career for you, then your next concern is probably whether or not it pays enough to sustain your livelihood. Since the field is varied and expands almost every industry, it can be difficult to pinpoint an exactly salary expectation. Many things have to be factored into this equation. Where you live, what sort of company you work for, what kind of degree you have- these will all be key elements in determining a salary expectation. Below is a very rough break-down of salary averages in different fields.
- Government: $50,000/year
- Corporate: $70,000/year
- Education: $45,000/year
As you can see, the salary expectations vary. In general, you can expect to see a higher salary in correlation with the amount of education you have and the other skills sets you are able to bring to the table.
What Kind of Education Will I Need?
The best salaries and jobs are going to be easier to obtain if you have a degree to back up your resume. With the expansion of this career field and the need for skilled workers, a degree can give you more room to negotiate higher salaries and top notch positions in human resources departments. Some jobs won’t have a degree or certification requirement, but even those can be easier to compete for if you do have a degree. Basically, the higher your degree the more valuable you will appear.
The degree range is as broad as the job, with degrees available at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s, MBA, and Doctorate levels. Many online schools over programs specifically tailored around a human resources curriculum. This can be ideal for anyone who wants to pick up the skill set but doesn’t have time to commit to attending a traditional on-campus school.