Human Resource Management (HRM or HR management) is the process of a company or organization that deals with recruiting, hiring, managing and providing training for employees working in that organization. Members of HR provide employees with the tools, resources, and training so they may contribute to making the company successful. Every area within an organization is touched by people working in the human resources department.

See our list of 20 Great Value Online Colleges for a Human Resources Degree (Bachelor’s).

Defining HR Management

Putting it simply, HR management is a group of employees, known as human resources managers, who plan, direct and oversee the administrative duties of the human resources department. They’re in charge of recruiting, interviewing, hiring and firing of employees. They typically act as a link between employees and management and strive to help the employees have the best working conditions.

HR managers collaborate with other managers regarding issues like sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity, mediating disputes and disciplinary procedures. They also supervise the work of support staff, offer incentives to motivate employees and ensure management is adhering to company policies and government regulations. HR managers also handle benefit issues, pensions, and payroll. U.S. News & World Report ranks HR specialists No. 12 among best jobs and No. 54 among 100 best jobs.

Becoming a Human Resources Manager

Becoming a human resources manager requires not just education but work experience as well. The candidate must complete a degree in human resources or a related field. While some HR managers are hired with baccalaureate degrees, others choose to pursue master degrees. The degree may be in human resources, business management, education, finance or information technology.

A graduate degree in human resources, business administration or labor relations may be required for higher-level positions. Associate’s degree programs in human resources may lead to positions working in an HR department but typically not management positions. Depending on if the candidate chooses a bachelor’s or master’s degree, he or she may be in school for four to six years.

Once the candidate has earned the degree, he or she must work for a few years to gain experience in management and demonstrate leadership abilities. The applicant must also possess good communication, organizational and decision-making skills.


Certification is not required for human resources managers, but it can be beneficial. Various certifications are offered through these agencies.

  • WorldatWork
  • The Society for Human Resource Management
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
  • HR Certification Institute

Career Outlook for Human Resources Managers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that human resources managers could expect to see an employment growth of 9 percent from 2016-2026. The change in employment laws, such as equal employment opportunity, benefits and workmen’s compensation, keeps human resources managers in demand. Human resources managers in the lowest 10 percent earned annual wages of $65,040, while those in the top 90% earned $197,720, according to a May 2017 report by the bureau. The average annual wage was $123,150.

Despite how many changes an organization goes through, they never stop needing the services of human resources managers. A career in human resource management offers good career opportunities, excellent wages and the opportunity to help employees work in the best possible environment.

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