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Human resources managers handle communication and relations between employees and management. Some specialize in labor relations or recruiting. Labor relations managers deal primarily with employment policies, contracts and problems regarding pay, benefits and grievances. Recruiting managers are responsible for a company's hiring policies and supervise human resources specialists in the hiring process. Human resources managers need at least a bachelor's degree and some related experience.
Education and Skills
To be a human resources managers, you need the interpersonal skills to listen and respond to employee issues. You also must embrace working on teams. You need to be decisive to make tough decisions regarding hiring, firing and employment policies. You will need at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or human resources. Helpful courses during your undergraduate studies include labor relations, industrial psychology and organizational development. Some upper-level positions may require you to have a master's degree in human resources or business administration.
Work Experience and Training
Experience as a human resource specialist is helpful in becoming a human resources manager. Specialists perform the more day-to-day tasks of the human resources department, such as interviewing prospective employees, contacting their references, administering labor contracts, leading new employee orientations and handling grievances. Employers look for applicants who demonstrate management abilities by leading teams of colleagues or managing special projects. You can gain additional training in these areas by participating in seminars and workshops sponsored by industry organizations, including the Society for Human Resource Management. Common topics for these training sessions include employee development, workplace law, ethics and organizational development.
HR Management Certification
Human resources managers are not required to hold any professional licenses, though certification can demonstrate your expertise and help you compete in the job market. The Human Resource Management Professional credential provides certification specific to HR management. Certification requirements include passing an exam and at least four years of HR experience if you have a master's degree -- five years of experience if you have a bachelor's degree. The HR Certification Institute allows you two and a half hours to complete 130 questions on four primary topics: HR as a business leader, people development and talent management, HR service delivery and measurement.
The increasing complexity of employment laws should help drive demand for human resources managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to grow 13 percent between 2010 and 2020, slightly slower than the average for all occupations. The increasing automation of human resources functions through tools like human resources information systems contributes to this slow growth. The highest concentration of opening should be with consulting firms in the professional, technical and scientific industries due to a trend toward outsourcing human resources functions to consultants. Earning certification and a master's degree in human resources or business administration could help you stand out from other candidates.
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources Managers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources Specialists
- Society for Human Resources Management: Seminars by Topic
- HR Certification Institute: Human Resources Management Professional Certification
- HR Certification Institute: Human Resources Management Professional Body of Knowledge