HR Manager Makes 2016 Hot Jobs List

By Roy Maurer Dec 8, 2015

Whether you’re looking to expand your human resources department or you’ve got the itch for a new job opportunity yourself, 2016 is forecast to be your year.

CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) have released their annual compilation of the most in-demand jobs for the new year, based on supply and demand, growth, and salary data—and HR manager made the top 20.

EMSI is a CareerBuilder company that provides employment data and economic analysis. The list is compiled from EMSI’s labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources. CareerBuilder and EMSI looked at the average number of people hired per month in more than 700 occupations from January to September 2015 and compared that to the number of job postings for each occupation, aggregated from online job boards for the same period. Occupations in which the number of job advertisements that companies posted each month outpaced the number of people they actually hired made the list. The list included other data points, such as healthy job growth and higher salaries, as additional evidence that these positions may be in demand next year.

There has been far more job posting activity than hiring month-to-month in over 100 occupations, said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “While many of these jobs are in the technology and health care sectors, there are also plenty of opportunities in areas such as marketing, sales and transportation.”

Human resources manager ranked 19th among jobs that require a college education, and the position had a significant gap between job postings (23,231) and actual hires (5,916). HR manager positions have grown by 14,218 since 2010, according to the analysis. The median hourly earnings for the position is $49.41.

Laura Pizzo, a senior technical writer at EMSI, explained that “it’s important to note that one job posting does not equal one job opening. Sometimes employers post jobs to collect resumes, and other times they hire multiple people from one posting. To diagnose what is going on, you really need to go occupation by occupation.”

Laura Mazzullo, owner of East Side Staffing, a New York City-based recruitment firm focused on the placement of HR professionals, thinks one of the issues contributing to the large gap between postings and hires in the HR market is hiring managers’ inflexibility. “Sure, one could argue that there’s a lack of talent, leaving many roles unfilled. I would argue that it’s also due to a manager’s inability to think creatively when sourcing.”

Employers could hire someone more junior and grow that person into the role or consider candidates from other industries, she said. “Employers often want to hire someone doing the exact job elsewhere. Most candidates want to move for something new and different. In this competitive HR market, the more flexible hiring manager comes out ahead.”

Good Time to Be in HR

The demand for top HR talent has grown in proportion to the desire of organizations to improve their work culture and level of employee satisfaction, Mazzullo said. “Responding to the current business trend of improving corporate cultures, HR has naturally become a more deeply respected, valued part of the business.”

Randstad North America Chief HR Officer Jim Link said he’s seeing a growing demand for hiring human resources professionals at all levels, “likely driven by recent employment legislation and changes to health care, retirement plans, and the way employers approach employee safety and wellness programs.”

But Link believes the demand for HR generalists will outpace the demand for managers. “As is the case in most professions, a position that requires a highly specialized skill set is more difficult to fill than an entry-level one, and there are also typically fewer of those high-level roles available—therefore, it would make sense,” he said.

On the other hand, Mazzullo has noticed HR roles becoming more specialized since the recent economic upswing. “In this booming market, HR departments are growing and roles are becoming more strategic and specialized. For example, I’ve worked on searches for niche HR jobs such as organizational development manager or talent management specialist, whereas those roles were not as prevalent a few years back.”

Job descriptions are asking for more people with master’s degrees in industrial-organizational psychology and expertise in organizational design and change management, she said.

“With more specialized roles arising, HR professionals are able to dig into more strategic and dynamic work. It’s important that HR managers consider what areas of HR they’d be willing to focus on, as it’s a great time to have a niche HR expertise,” she said.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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