Human Resources Specialists

What Human Resources Specialists Do

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They also handle employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

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Work Environment

Human resources specialists generally work in offices. Some, particularly recruitment specialists, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants. Most human resources specialists work full time during regular business hours.

How to Become a Human Resources Specialist

Applicants must usually have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field. However, the level of education and experience required varies by position and employer.

Pay

The median annual wage for human resources specialists was $61,920 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Human resources specialists will be needed to handle increasingly complex employment laws and healthcare coverage options. Most growth is projected to be in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry.

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle tasks related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

Duties

Human resources specialists typically do the following:

  • Consult with employers to identify employment needs
  • Interview applicants about their experience, education, and skills
  • Contact references and perform background checks on job applicants
  • Inform applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
  • Hire or refer qualified candidates for employers
  • Conduct or help with new employee orientation
  • Keep employment records and process paperwork

Human resources specialists are often trained in all human resources disciplines and perform tasks throughout all areas of the department. In addition to recruiting and placing workers, human resources specialists help guide employees through all human resources procedures and answer questions about policies. They sometimes administer benefits, process payroll, and handle any associated questions or problems, although many specialists may focus more on strategic planning and hiring instead of administrative duties. They also ensure that all human resources functions comply with federal, state, and local regulations.

The following are examples of types of human resources specialists:

Human resources generalists handle all aspects of human resources work. They may have duties in all areas of human resources including recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, training, as well as the administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs.

Recruitment specialists, sometimes known as personnel recruiters or head hunters,” find, screen, and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. They search for applicants by posting listings, attending job fairs, and visiting college campuses. They also may test applicants, contact references, and extend job offers.

Human resources specialists held about 666,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of human resources specialists were as follows:

Employment services 15%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Government 11
Healthcare and social assistance 11
Manufacturing 8

Some organizations contract recruitment and placement work to outside firms, such as those in the employment services industry or consulting firms in the professional, scientific, and technical industry.

Work Schedules

Human resources specialists generally work in offices. Some, particularly recruitment specialists, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants.

Most specialists work full time during regular business hours.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of human resources specialists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to pay employees.

Bachelor’s degree $122,270

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs.

Bachelor’s degree $64,560

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $34,710

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers plan, coordinate, and direct the administrative functions of an organization.

Bachelor’s degree $116,720

Insurance Sales Agents

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.

High school diploma or equivalent $50,940

Labor Relations Specialists

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts.

Bachelor’s degree $69,020

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.

Bachelor’s degree $61,150

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of the government.

Bachelor’s degree $54,890

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers plan, coordinate, and direct skills- and knowledge-enhancement programs for an organization’s staff.

Bachelor’s degree $113,350

Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists plan and administer programs that improve the skills and knowledge of their employees.

Bachelor’s degree $61,210

For more information about human resources careers and certification, visit

Society for Human Resource Management

HR Certification Institute

WorldatWork

International Public Management Association for Human Resources

O*NET

Human Resources Specialists


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Specialists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm (visited ).