Human resources; the place employees go to get fired, laid off, reprimanded, scolded, questioned. On a good day, it’s where they pour over complicated benefits packages or learn the ins and outs of new company policies and procedures. Most days, it’s likely the last place you want to be. Right?
That’s NOT right! If you’re looking for a new career these days, HR is exactly where you want to be!
The pay for an HR specialist is pretty good. The national average last year was $62,590, with an annual rate of increase over the past five years of 2.8 percent — substantially higher than the 1.7 percent average for all American workers. It ranked among the top 10 percent for jobs with the highest pay increases — though it trailed others such as compliance officers (up 4.3 percent) and tax preparers (up 4 percent).
ACBJ analyzed the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of a national look at, What People Earn across the country.
As defined by the BLS, an HR specialist recruits, screens, interviews and places workers, while also handling employee relations, labor contracts, management practices, payroll, benefits and training. The HR specialist is different from an HR assistant, who earns substantially less at about $39,000 a year, and an HR manager, whose average pay is about $114,000, annually.
Sounds good, right? Can you build a long-term career around it? If you do seek work as an HR specialist know there are other fast-growing jobs, but they are less appealing than the HR specialist. For instance, the second-fastest growing profession is “personal care aide.” Average pay: $21,000 a year. Third on the list are miners and oil and gas workers, decidedly blue collar jobs whose future growth is less certain because of plummeting oil prices.
Many companies have been rebuilding their HR departments for a couple of reasons: Job growth and government regulations. Many of the HR professionals being hired specialize in recruiting and employee relations. Now that the economy is recovering, leaders are looking at their shabby infrastructure and beginning to rebuild. HR hiring in the past five years is only beginning to correct the understaffing problem that happened in the recession.”
Human Resources offers a variety of job opportunities to match many different personality types, as well. For instance, an analytical person might enjoy compensation management or benefits analysis, while an empathetic person may be a good HR generalist, which spends a lot of time working with people. If you enjoy finding talent for a company, then recruiting may be your best bet. Or if you like to help shape future strategies, then seek a role with the diversity team within human resources. Don’t worry about the industry or the company. Focus on the quality of the job and company and the opportunity for growth.