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Satisfied workers and good manager/employee communication are vital to the success of businesses. However, in most large corporations, to keep the peace at work it simply isn't possible for a worker to knock on the door of the company CEO to voice a concern. Therefore, companies rely on human resource managers to be that liaison and keep things running smoothly.

If you have strong communication skills and enjoy helping others in a corporate setting, here are some facts about human resource managers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Overview
Human resource managers have stepped into the limelight in many companies in recent years. Historically, human resource managers performed administrative tasks that include handling employee benefits and recruiting and interviewing new hires. Today, these workers perform these tasks, but also increasingly consult top executives about strategic planning.

These managers attempt to improve morale and productivity by providing training opportunities to boost employee skills and helping to increase employees' overall job satisfaction. Dealing with people and resolving problems are essential aspects of this career.

Training and Education
The duties and amount of responsibility assigned to human resource managers vary - and thus, so do the educational requirements. Many employers seek out entry-level candidates who majored in human resources, personnel administration, or industrial and labor relations; other employers look for grads with business, technical or liberal arts backgrounds.

Some jobs are increasingly requiring advanced degrees in disciplines including industrial and labor relations. Experience in the field is also important for those seeking more advanced positions, but entry-level workers often enter formal training programs.

Jobs in the human resources field require exceptional people skills. They must be good writers, able to handle conflicting points of view, fair-minded, discreet and have a persuasive, yet congenial personality.

Opportunities
Human resources workers' duties vary considerably by the size and type of organization. In a small organization, a human resources generalist might handle all aspects of the human resources work.

In larger corporations, human resources duties are much more divided:

  • The director of human resources may oversee several departments, each headed by an experienced manager.


  • Employment and placement managers oversee the hiring and firing of employees. Employment, recruitment and placement specialists recruit and place workers.


  • Recruiters travel extensively, often to college campuses, in search of promising candidates.


  • EEO officers, representatives or affirmative action coordinators examine their company's Equal Employment Opportunity practices and handle grievances.


  • Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists conduct programs for employers, specializing in specific areas like position classifications or pensions.


  • Occupational analysts conduct research about occupational classification systems and industry trends.


  • Compensation managers establish and maintain a firm's pay system.


  • Employee benefits managers and specialists are the company employee benefits experts.


  • Training and development managers and specialists conduct and supervise training and development programs for employees.


  • Training managers provide classroom or on-site worker training.


  • The director of industrial relations forms labor policy and coordinates grievance procedures.


  • Pros and cCns
    Human resources jobs are usually in clean, pleasant settings, and many arbitrators and labor relations managers work at home. Many jobs have traditional 9-to-5 hours. Due to the somewhat hierarchical nature of the profession, there are many opportunities for advancement.

    However, they must be prepared to work long hours in the case of a major dispute - especially arbitrators, when new contracts are being prepared and negotiated. Some human resources workers must travel extensively, spending time away from their families.

    Salary
    Salaries for human resources workers fluctuate in accordance with their occupation, level of experience, training, location, size of firm and union status. Median annual earnings of human resources managers were $64,710 in 2002. Employment, recruitment and placement specialists earned $39,410 that same year. Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists were paid $45,100.

    Job Outlook
    There is a steady supply of qualified college graduates interested in human resources work; therefore competition will be tight for jobs. But overall, human resources workers will enjoy faster-than-average job growth through 2012, according to the BLS.

    This demand will be spurred in part by new laws regulating the workplace, health, pensions and family leave. In addition, demand will be strongest for certain specialists (those who specialize in older job seekers, for example).

    Source: BLS October 2004

    Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM


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