Masters in Human Resource Management Careers

Obtaining a master’s degree in human resource management is an ideal way to reap the benefits of a career that rewards you for cultivating positive work relationships while helping your business stay competitive in an ever-changing work environment. Human resource professionals greatly influence a company’s growth and development through their excellent understanding of human capital. Whatever the job market might be, retaining talented employees is important. That’s why effective human resource managers are vital to a company’s success.

What Can I Do with a Master’s in Human Resource Management?

The following, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are some of the common tasks human resource managers must oversee and implement.


HR managers are often responsible for a company’s staffing, which can include overseeing the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new employees. They’re also accountable for retention and exit practices when a staff member leaves the company. With the recent increase in those trying to secure jobs after facing long-term unemployment, there are a number of unique factors for today’s HR managers to consider when designing and executing an effective staffing process.

When seeking out new employees, the first step for HR managers is typically to create job descriptions and specifications. They might then recruit internally – among those who are already working for the company – and externally through media advertising, internet recruiting, employment agencies, etc. Next, HR managers interview to locate the best candidate for the position. Once one is found, the employment offer is extended and the onboarding process begins. From there, employees might be enrolled in a standard training program or actively trained while working at their new position.


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) classifies benefits into two categories: indirect and direct. Indirect benefits are those benefits a company uses to attract, retain and motivate employees, as well as those that the federal and state government mandates. Direct benefits include payment. Benefits that are deemed indirect are health and dental insurance, 401K, tuition reimbursement, wellness programs, family and medical leave, and flexible work arrangements. According to a recent SHRM survey, 2015 Employee Benefits, five-year trends show an increasing number of organizations offering coverage for mental health care, contraception, critical illness insurance, and bariatric and laser vision surgery. Additionally, more organizations are offering wellness programs to cut back on health care benefits costs. HR managers are often in charge of selecting and implementing these programs.

In the era of private exchanges and the shifts in law brought about by healthcare reform, choosing a benefits plan that suits both the organization and legal considerations has only become more challenging. HR managers work through numerous plans and insurance providers to help organizations offer competitive benefits, attracting employees and offering a valuable service to their current staff. They’ll need to effectively communicate their findings to both leadership and employees, ensuring that everyone knows exactly what services their employer is willing to provide.

Training and Development

Another function of human resource management is training and development, both for employees as well as for the organization itself. Here, the role of HR managers is to identify business needs and develop current staff based on those needs. Some methods of accomplishing this could include hosting an employee information session, monitoring the employee review process to ensure its effectiveness, or encouraging the attendance of workshops and training seminars outside of the workplace.

Creating a Day Care System

Providing child care is a remarkably valuable benefit for companies to offer, helping employees keep costs low and ensure that their children are in good hands as they work. Some companies even provide on-site daycare services that allow parents to bring their child with them to work. Coordinating unique benefits like these falls well within the purview of the HR department, who would likely be responsible for establishing and supervising the service, as well as communicating its advantages and uses with employees.


Human resource departments are typically, in coordination with accounting teams, responsible for overseeing the process through which employees are compensated for the work. They’re responsible for ensuring that each paycheck goes out on a predetermined schedule with prior approval from executive leaders. HR managers lead this task, supervising the process and addressing any issues. At some organizations, they may even have input into designing compensation packages, sometimes including stock options and more sophisticated methods of payment (while still complying with all laws and regulations).

The functions of human resource management expand beyond the areas detailed here, and can also vary by company. In smaller organizations, HR managers may be responsible for all of the aforementioned areas. However, in larger organizations, there may be more specialized roles and titles. Several examples include employee relations managers, payroll managers, and staffing managers.

Benefits of Human Resource Management Careers with a Master’s Degree

Work in a High-Demand Job

No matter the industry, effective human resource managers are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for human resources professionals should expect steady growth, as employment is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the national average. However, those with master’s degrees will have better job opportunities. Many professionals often seek advanced education and training to specialize in a certain aspect of human resources, like labor relations or the recruitment process.

Earn a Six Figure Salary

While salaries for human resource managers vary by industry, the median salary nationally reported in May 2014 was $102,780, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry with the highest reported average salary for human resource managers was in professional, scientific, and technical services at $116,740 per year. Human resource managers typically work 40 hour weeks during regular business hours. A master’s degree in human resource management can help you leverage your pay when applying for a new position, or it can help you earn a promotion at your current company by proving that you are dedicated to refining your skills and advancing your career.

Develop Employee Relationships

In addition to recruitment and staffing, HR managers focus on keeping work relationships productive and appropriate. This can be challenging because work environments are dynamic and constantly changing. By organizing a work structure that complements the company’s goals, human resources managers can shape office culture and motivate success. This can be rewarding for someone with exceptional people skills and a dedication to fairness in a diverse workplace.

Maintaining employee relations includes ensuring employees are conducting themselves appropriately. HR managers may have to take disciplinary actions if employees are fostering a negative attitude, exhibiting poor work performance, or coming in late or leaving early. Human resource managers serve as a buffer during a dispute or as the liaison between management and other employees.

Gain Leadership Experience

Companies large enough to warrant an entire team or department dedicated to human resources will frequently establish leadership roles to guide daily HR tasks and operations. Human resource managers can fill this niche by delegating tasks, guiding operations, and ensuring adherence to company policy among their own dedicated staff.

When problems arise, the HR manager is usually the first of point of contact. This is an invaluable position for someone who thrives in a leadership role. From mediating disputes to dealing with the legal issues of harassment and employee safety, human resources managers must be available to devise solutions that benefit not only individual employees, but also the company as a whole.

Acting as representatives of the company’s mission and values, the human resources department communicates changes in office policy in a way that connects upper management to employees at every level. A master’s degree in HR can help you develop your leadership skills and apply them to potential workplace situations. With an advanced degree, you will learn how to effectively lead a team and make a positive impact with your decisions.

Impact Company Policy

Choosing the right people for the job and seeing a company flourish because of those hiring decisions can be very satisfying. This is especially true when it comes to creating and enforcing company policies that affect the bottom line. As increasing globalization and advances in technology change the work environment, qualified human resource managers develop strategies to keep a company profitable and competitive. They design methods that enhance a company’s human assets to maximize productivity and value while meeting budgetary guidelines. By advising the executive staff on organizational best practices, the HR team has a direct effect on business development and growth.

Building a Better Workplace

With many workplaces growing more and more employee-centric, it’s important for HR managers to consistently search for ways to keep their employees content, well-supported, and engaged in their jobs. Successful HR departments strive to make their company’s work environment more encouraging, pleasant, and stimulating – whether through employee award and recognition ceremonies, changes to the design of the office, or accommodations in the name of a strong work-life balance. The development of unique employment perks, like Google’s legendary nap pods and other services, is a joint effort between HR and leadership. Human resources managers frequently research and execute these ideas to have a greater impact on the happiness of their employees.

Saint Francis University offers a SHRM-approved online Master of Human Resource Management, designed to provide students from various backgrounds with the skills needed to work in HR management, whether in a specialized area or as an HR generalist.