Working in Human Resources

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate human resource management as a career
Photograph of two people shaking hands. The photo is a close up of the hands, only showing each individual from the elbow down.

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 (currently) the 2016–2026 timeframe.[1]

Human resource positions profiled include the following:

  • Human Resources Specialist. Provide development and administrative support for one of the human resource functions.
  • Labor Relations Specialist. Interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.
  • Training & Development Specialist. Help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.
  • Compensation & Benefits Manager. Plan, develop, and oversee employee compensation programs.
  • Human Resources Manager. Plan, direct, and coordinate 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 Note that although the BLS site 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 whereas a generalist supports all four functions and a recruiter focuses the recruiting function.

Table 1. Human Resource Management Positions
Job Title 2018 Salary /1 Growth Rate /2 Entry-Level Education Relevant Work Experience
Human Resources Specialist $60,880 7% Bachelor’s degree None
Training & Development Specialist $60,870 11% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Compensation, Benefits & Job Analysis Specialist $63,000 9% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Labor Relations Specialist $67,790 –8% Bachelor’s degree Less than 5 years
Compensation & Benefits Manager $121,010 5% Bachelor’s degree 5 years or more
Human Resources Manager $113,300 9% Bachelor’s degree 5 years or more
1/ Median pay
2/ Projected change in employment from 2016-2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7%.

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 Glassdoor.com, compensation data site Salary.com or associated job postings.

Practice Question


  1. "Occupational Outlook Handbook." Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 29, 2019. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/