Human resources managers handle the needs of an organization’s most important assets: employees. They handle issues related to compensation, benefits, training, hiring and motivation, and in large corporations, a manager may exist for each category. HR managers also play an important role when a company downsizes, coordinating severance packages and making sure laid-off employees know about benefits they’re entitled to.
HR managers earned an average $108,600 per year, or $52.21 per hour, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest salaries exceeded $169,310 a year, or $81.40 per hour, while the lowest fell below $60,070 per year, or $28.88 an hour. HR managers plan and direct the efforts of human resources staff to meet the needs of employees. They advise department managers on organizational policies, such as equal employment opportunity; they recruit, interview and select potential employees; they mediate disputes and handle disciplinary procedures; they consult with managers on the best strategies to hire and retain talent; and they help managers with layoffs and other termination procedures.
The biggest employers of HR managers in 2011 were organizations that took over other companies by buying a controlling interest in the company to influence management, or by undertaking the planning and strategic decision-making of client companies. These employers hired 15 percent of the total 81,750 managers and paid a mean $122,780 per year, or $59.03 hourly. The highest average salaries were in the motion picture and video industries at a mean $158,700 per year, or $76.30 an hour. HR managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration. Some higher-level positions require a master’s degree. Voluntary certification, which is available from national organizations, can increase employment and advancement opportunities.
In 2011, HR managers found the most job opportunities in California, which provided 12 percent of the positions and an average salary of $123,340 per year, or $58.82 per hour. New York was next with 9 percent of the jobs and mean wages of $116,850 per year, or $56.18 an hour. The state with the highest paying employers was New Jersey, averaging $137,570 per year, or $66.14 an hour, followed by the District of Columbia, which the BLS classifies with states and which showed mean wages of $131,830 per year, or $63.38 per hour. With 6 percent of the jobs, New York City was the metro area showing the most opportunities, with mean wages of $126,390 per year, or $60.76 an hour. The city with the best pay was San Jose, California, averaging $157,650 a year, or $75.79 an hour.
Employment for HR managers will grow by 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to BLS, which is more than the 7 percent predicted for all management jobs, and close to the 14 percent expected for all occupations. The number of jobs available depends on how often existing companies expand and new companies are formed. Opportunities will be stronger in professional, scientific and technical consulting because many organizations are outsourcing their human resources functions. Those with master’s degrees will have the best opportunities.