Working in Human Resources

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate human resource management as a career
two people shaking hands

The go-to site for evaluating occupations is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, an online publication that describes occupations and summarizes data projections for the 2020–2030 timeframe.[1]

Human resource positions profiled include the following:

  • Human Resources Specialist. Provides development and administrative support for one of the human resource functions.
  • Labor Relations Specialist. Interprets and administers labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.
  • Training and Development Specialist. Helps plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager. Plans, develops, and oversees employee compensation programs.
  • Human Resources Manager. Plans, directs, and coordinates human resources functions broadly, including strategic planning and advice and employee relations.

A summary of key data for these roles in included in Table 1 demonstrates that although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses the term human resources specialist to refer to specialists, generalists and recruiters, the roles are generally distinct. A human resources specialist usually focuses on one of the four human resource management functions such as staffing, training and development, compensation, and administration. A generalist may support all four functions, while a recruiting manager works specifically to attract new employees to an organization.

Table 1. Human Resource Management Positions
Job Title 2021 Salary/1 Job Outlook/2 Entry-Level Education Relevant Work Experience
Human Resources Specialist $62,290 10% Bachelor’s degree None
Training and Development Specialist $61,570 11% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Compensation, Benefits & Job Analysis Specialist $64,120 10% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Labor Relations Specialist $77,010 –4% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Compensation and Benefits Manager $127,530 4% Bachelor’s degree 5 years or more
Human Resources Manager $126,230 9% Bachelor’s degree 5 years or more
1/ Median pay
2/ Projected change in employment from 2020-2030.

Learn More

For additional perspective on salaries—in particular, for specific positions, employers and/or markets (for example, geographic area or industry), use company review and salary reporting site, compensation data site or associated job postings. You might also search applications like Payscale, Indeed, and LinkedIn for salary listing, job requirements, and current trends in hiring.

Practice Question

  1. "Occupational Outlook Handbook." Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed May 6, 2022.