How Can I Become a Labor Relations Manager?

Research what it takes to become a labor relations manager. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Labor Relations Manager?

Labor relations managers work closely with both employees and other company managers to handle issues related to employment policies. This might entail creating labor contracts and negotiating their terms as well as establishing wages and addressing employee grievances. They may also work to secure fair benefits for company employees. Take a look at the table below for education requirements, essential responsibilities and salary potential in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (minimum)
Education Field of Study Labor Relations, Human Resource Management and Business Administration
Key Responsibilities Create employee benefits and training programs, monitor contract compliance, address complaints
Certification Professional in Human Resources (PHR) credential is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-24) 9% for all human resources managers*
Median Salary (2015) $104,440 for all human resources managers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Duties Does a Labor Relations Manager Perform?

You will lead a staff in the creation and execution of employee benefits and training programs. You may also compile compensation and economics data for company management to utilize during contract negotiations with unions. After a contract is signed, you will be responsible for ensuring that all details of the contract are abided by, and you will deal with non-compliance issues and complaints that arise. It will be necessary for you to have broad knowledge of compensation practices, health benefits, pensions, employment law and collective bargaining procedures. If a company doesn't have a union, you will work directly with the employees rather than with union representatives.

What Education Is Necessary?

A bachelor's degree is required to work in this profession; relevant majors include labor relations, human resource management and business administration. Labor relations and human resource management classes will focus on work dynamics, conflict resolution, labor laws and business ethics. As a business administration major, you'll take courses in management, economics and communications. These degree programs can be completed in four years, and some schools offer online classes.

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics emphasizes the growing need for labor relations managers to obtain graduate degrees (www.bls.gov). For admission into a human resources or labor relations master's degree program, you must take either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Once in the program, coursework will include the study of negotiation practices, compensation analysis, human behavior and labor economics. You can earn a master's degree in 2-3 years, and after graduation you may find work with a company, government agency or labor union.

Industry Certification

The HR Certification Institute offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification for professionals seeking to prepare for career advancement and further develop their management and labor relations skills. You can qualify to take the 225-question exam if you have a bachelor's degree and two years of work experience (www.hrci.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may also be interested in a number of other human resources-related professions. For example, you could pursue a career as a compensation and benefits manager. These professionals focus exclusively on employee wages and benefit packages. You could also work as a training and development coordinator, which involves planning and directing various training courses and programs to enhance the skill sets of company employees.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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