Less than 60 years ago, many companies didn’t even have any type of human resources management.
Now, the position has evolved into one of the most important leadership positions in a company, as well as one of the fastest-growing professions in the country.
That wasn’t the case in the 1920s, when many United States businesses began forming personnel departments. The job, seen as a staff function, wasn’t overly complicated but proved very important: The personnel department focused on hiring, training and paying employees.
In the second half of the 20th century, human resources management emerged to help companies in a number of ways, including recruiting top talent, helping a company adapt to emerging technology, keeping track of government regulations involving personnel and a host of other issues.
But what, exactly, does a human resources manager do in the modern organization?
Job Duties for Human Resources Manager
The exact duties of a human resources manager vary depending on the industry and size of an organization.
However, those looking to work in organizational leadership can anticipate the following responsibilities managing a modern human resources department.
- Recruit talented workers and match them with jobs to which they are well suited
- Create and manage the interview and selection process for new employees
- Work with company executives to create attractive pay, bonus and vacation packages that will help retain talented workers
- Serve as the expert within a company for other managers to consult on personnel issues such as sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity and disciplinary measures
- Serve as the link between a company’s management and employees
Those represent the basics. In a larger context, human resource managers work in coordination with other top executives on developing long-term strategic goals – most of which involve recruiting, hiring and retaining key personnel.
A human resources manager also helps drive the effort to create a unified and positive company culture, another key aspect in recruiting and retaining quality employees.
Human resource managers can also specialize in specific areas. Those include labor relations, payroll management and recruiting management.
Education and Salary for Human Resources Manager
While there is no one clear path to becoming a human resources manager, the very minimum is earning a bachelor’s degree. While degrees in human resources are available, it often can prove useful to have a bachelor’s degree in the field you plan to go into, such as finance, technology or healthcare administration.
Most of the top-level jobs now require a master’s degree in human resources or organizational leadership.
Experience also is key to advancing in human resources. A typical manager has worked for years as a specialist, learning the complex details of regulations, laws and company guidelines that govern managing employees.
All the hard work of education and experience pays off. The median annual pay for human resource managers in May 2016 was $106,910, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the highest end of the scale are those who worked in management of companies and enterprises, earning an annual median salary of $121,390.
Human resources has come a long way in just the past 50 years. Those looking to manage a human resources department can expect a challenging, rewarding and ever-evolving career.