Human resources (HR) is a core business function for companies in all industries. Both in-house departments and specialist HR firms offer a wide range of jobs in human resources. Nearly all enterprises but the very smallest carry out some HR functions themselves and job out other HR work to consultants or outsourcers such as payroll processors, recruitment firms, compensation and benefits consultants, management attorneys and more. Worldwide demand for HR business process outsourcing will grow from $30.4 billion in 2010 to $38.6 billion in 2015, according to a Gartner forecast. Among the larger HR outsourcing firms are ADP for payroll; Adecco, Manpower and Randstad for staffing; and Hewitt and Towers-Watson for consulting.
Human Resources Job Market
There were more than 440,000 jobs for human resources specialists in 2010, and these HR employment opportunities will grow by 21 percent by 2020, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Human resources managers held another 71,800 jobs, and employment in this occupation is expected to grow 13 percent over the decade.
In the 2000s, human resources professionals find themselves at the center of corporate cost-cutting efforts, in more ways than one. Top management is applying increasing pressure on HR to recruit and retain workers who will continuously boost productivity and build the company's recruitment brand. Meanwhile, HR itself has been a prime target of headcount reductions; each job in human resources must be justified. So an HR career means proving your value again and again, by managing talent optimally and harnessing technology to boost the HR department's own productivity.
Key human resources jobs include human resources assistant; human resources generalist; human resources specialist; recruiter; human resources coordinator, supervisor, manager, director or vice president.
Human Resources Salaries
Median annual wages were $54,310 for human resources, training and labor relations specialists in May 2011, according to the BLS. HR managers earned median wages of $99,130, and the top 10 percent earned almost $170,000.