What Are Popular Career Options in HR Management?

Popular options in human resources (HR) management may include employment recruiting and placement, compensation and benefits, training, or labor relations. In a small organization, the HR manager may perform all of these functions. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

HR Management Career Overview

In general, HR managers oversee the recruitment, staffing, training and compensation of an organization's employees. Some of these managers specialize in a particular niche, like training and development or compensation and benefits, while others may have a hand in all of a company's HR-related decisions.

Most HR managers have significant professional experience in lower-level roles, like those of labor specialists or human resources specialists. The main educational requirements for these professionals is a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, like human resources or business administration, though some positions may require a master's degree as well.

Important Facts About HR Management Careers

Compensation Benefits Managers Training and Development Managers Labor Relations Specialists
Entry Level Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5% 10% -8% (decline)
Work Experience 5 years or more 5 years or more Less than 5 years
Median Salary (2018) $121,010 per year $111,340 per year $67,790 per year

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Compensation and Benefits

HR departments are usually responsible for developing and managing compensation and benefits packages. In some organizations, these packages can be quite complex, especially health insurance and pension plans. HR managers sometimes need specialized knowledge in these areas. Other responsibilities include creating job descriptions, setting compensation rates, and promoting health and safety standards. Careers in this area include positions such as:

  • Compensation Managers
  • Benefit Managers or Specialists
  • Payroll Managers


HR managers are also involved in the training of new employees or those who are transitioning to different positions. Some organizations invest in training programs to help develop the skills of all employees in order to increase quality or productivity. HR managers may have routine training programs for new employees, or they may set up specialized programs for specific roles. Potential careers include:

  • Training Managers
  • Development Managers
  • Training & Development Specialists

Labor Relations

Labor relations, negotiations and dispute resolution are other major functions of the human resources department. Whether maintaining contact with outside labor organizations or resolving a dispute between employees within a specific organization, HR managers are relied on to handle employee relations. Popular positions within this area include:

  • Labor Relations Managers
  • Mediators
  • Employee Relations Specialists
  • Arbitrators

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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