The human resources (HR) field continues to evolve as technology and smarter business strategies that leverage human capital play a bigger role in long-term organizational plans. Those entering the profession by earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources will find a profession that has undergone many changes in recent years. The role of human resource managers and specialists has expanded. The current job market also presents a whole new set of challenges and opportunities in human resources that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
The Demand for HR Professionals
Statistical projections show that those entering the HR profession are entering a profession that is going to provide a lot of opportunity,
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% gain nationwide in the number of HR specialists by 2026. The mean annual salary for the position as of May 2018 was $66,790, according to the BLS.
In Pennsylvania, the projected gain is expected to reach 7.6%, while the median salary in May 2018 was $67,370. For those who reach the management level, the annual salaries for HR managers reached $126,700 nationwide and $130,260 in Pennsylvania.
Challenges Facing HR Managers
HR managers face a host of challenges that a bachelor’s degree prepares them to meet. Some of those challenges include the following.
With the unemployment rate hitting 40-year lows, HR managers and specialists face heavy competition in attracting and retaining the most talented workers.
Training and Reskilling
For current employees, HR departments lead the way on developing programs that provide new skills to current employees. This often provides a solution for filling needed positions, as companies often have the right employee but just need to teach them new skills. Given rapid innovation in technology, most employees are expected to learn 15 to 20 new skills in their lifetime.
HR managers and specialists now need to understand how to use the flexibility inherent in online programs to train employees, especially with a younger workforce.
Sophisticated software can help HR professionals make better decisions and provide in depth analysis on the return on investment of moves made by the HR department.
What HR Managers Think
PricewaterhouseCoopers recently conducted a survey, called “Survey of Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in which they asked HT leaders from 16 industries what they saw as the biggest issues confronting the industry,.
One involved change management. That includes HR managers taking a larger role in shaping business strategy, with human capital being a major focus for organizations as they expand into a more data-driven, global market.
HR managers also need to focus on developing leadership within their own ranks, with HR specialists who show the right mix of skills and ambition getting promoted into positions of increasing responsibility.
They also called for the use of more data to ensure that HR, just like other phases of a business operation, are operating in the most efficient way possible.
These are some of the challenges that face HR professionals, as well as the many opportunities that await those who commit to earning a degree and entering this growing profession.