Employees who are considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree in human resources, or companies who are considering footing the bill for valued employees to do the same, have a definitive eye set towards their respective maximum bottom line payoff. For the firm, the payoff is calculated in terms of the corporate goals in regards to hiring, retention, development, and compliance savings. For the employee, the payoff is calculated in terms of where human resources can take them: in other words, what are the highest paying human resources jobs out there in the field today and what will it take to land one?
A masters in management careers is often the foundation for getting a toe in the door to compete for advances in human resource careers. In these uncertain economic times, no career path can be taken for granted, which means that continual personal development, learning, study and application is needed in order to move from one position to the next. This is how it goes all the way up the corporate ladder. However, those who succeed most noticeably also develop a keen understanding of what the ladder looks like from the perspective of their unique interests, qualifications, and prior experience. To that end, here is an outline of what are, to date, the highest paying human resources jobs in diverse areas, complete with estimated salary ranges.
Labor Relations Specialist
A labor relations specialist is in continually hot demand as employees leverage union membership with its powerful group lobbying efforts. For employees, union membership can lead to better work hours, pay, benefits and other perks. Because of the technical specialization required for this position, even a labor relations specialist who is green behind the ears can expect to come into the role earning in the low to mid-$80,000 salary range. If you earnestly aspire to this position, be prepared to know local, state and federal mandates on labor statues backwards and forwards in each geographic area the company you work for operates in.
Human Resources Consultant
If you have an eye towards being your own boss, then the role of human resources consultant may be just up your alley. The salary range you can expect to earn ranges anywhere from the mid-80’s all the way up into the six figure range. Companies will hire you to analyze, troubleshoot, and resolve complicated HR issues across a wide range of disciplines. You will also need to have excellent diplomacy and people skills for working with a diverse cross-section of employees.
Training and Development Manager
An HR training and development manager frequently offers presentations, devises new training protocols, revises existing policies, manages career development for key personnel, and motivates and manages the workforce as a whole. This critical role typically starts off in the high-$80,000 range, and the person most likely to succeed in this role is a strong writer and editor, can grasp complicated issues across a wide range of topics, enjoys giving frequent public presentations and working closely with a diverse group of people, and is prepared to continually monitor key legal and compliance issues.
Benefits and Compensation Manager
If you possess a mind that enjoys analytical and financial matters, then, after earning your master’s in human resources, a role as the human resources benefits and compensation manager may be a perfect fit for your career aspirations. Not only does the salary range for this role begin in the healthy mid-$90,000 range, but you will come into the role already anticipating the prospect of using your extensive knowledge of labor laws, compensation policies, benefits options and cost-to-benefit analysis to retain employees and realize significant savings to the company’s bottom line.
Human Resources Manager
There are two roles to which many HR professionals aspire when they first set out in their new careers in human resources. One is the human resources manager; as a HR manager, your salary puts you in the high-$90,000 range and your diverse workforce experiences and advanced training make you a valuable generalist who is able to troubleshoot and plan from a 10,000-foot perspective. You can expect to spend approximately ten years honing your craft before getting a shot at this high-ranking and lucrative management position.
Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer
Once you have proven yourself in HR manager role, the next step up the career ladder puts you over the six-figure salary mark into the vice president or chief HR officer role, where you become “the buck” for the human resources department and bear ultimately responsibility – with ultimate reward – for the well-being of the entire workforce. No rush, though: you can expect to invest at least one decade, perhaps two, into your human resources career before successfully navigating this career-making move.
This article was written by Stacey Yeng. Stacey has been working in human resources for over ten years. She made the tough decision to go back to school while trying to balance career and family and will be graduating this fall with a master’s degree in human resources.