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Four Factors Driving Opportunities in Human Resources Careers

Image: Business People Standing on Puzzle Pieces - Opportunities in Human Resources

When it comes to changes in the job market, no field feels an economy’s highs and lows quite like human resources. A Human Resources department is every employee’s entry and exit point, with many touch points in between. And, with pensions and retirement healthcare to manage, as well, many human resources departments support employees well into their retirement.

Job prospects for human resources specialists are expected to be favorable through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This makes the field an attractive one for recent graduates with a business degree, especially those with a specialized focus in an area such as human resources management. Here are four factors that will impact the human resources industry over the next few years.

Retirement. At AIU’s recent Serious Talk™ Webinar, “Where the Jobs Are in 2014,” Kate Wollensak, Director of Compensation and Benefits of Morton Salt, discussed how an improvement in the economy can spur a retirement boom. “Obviously, we are on a financial upswing, which is good, because those who were considering retirement are now having some financial stability, and they are leaving their organizations. This creates huge opportunities for growth in [human resources] jobs.”

WATCH: AIU Serious Talk - How Healthcare, Finance and HR are Expanding

Human resources professionals handle retirement in several ways:

     •    They manage an employee’s transition to a pension, 401K or other retirement benefits

     •    Using actuaries and other financial professionals, HR professionals predict organizational population changes and manage profiles of group benefits accordingly

      •    Finally, when an employee retires, the HR cycle starts over with new human resources services such as employee recruitment, promotion and training

Attrition, Promotions and Vacancies. After a period of economic recession, it is common to see a spike in job movement. Employees who wanted to leave finally do so or those who have grown out of their positions seek jobs with additional responsibility. Meanwhile, other employees are transitioning into retirement. Wollensak explained, “The field is changing so rapidly … There is a change in the economy. The retirees are starting to move out, and there is going to be a growth opportunity in organizations in every industry.”

Human resources specialists are also relied upon to oversee promotions. All of this movement within an organization signals additional work and possibly more jobs for human resources professionals.

Job Creation. With population increases, the retirement of Baby Boomers and expansion of the economy, we are likely to see more jobs overall. More jobs mean more employees, and, very likely, a greater need for human resources professionals in every specialization and industry. “Most importantly [jobs in] recruiting—attracting and retaining talent. We cannot run an organization without human capital, and that’s critical,” Wollensak noted.

Changes in Healthcare Benefits. Recent changes in healthcare law with the advent of the Affordable Care Act creates a need for more human resources professionals who can administer changes, manage plans and coordinate benefits. “Healthcare has absolutely touched the HR industry with the Affordable Care Act and with what’s going on in the government right now,” Wollensak said. “There’s a huge need for benefit specialists.”