7 Top Careers in Human Resources

Industry Advice Management

Human resources (HR) has always been a vital component of any functioning workplace. It is a department with many unique and important responsibilities, all of which keep an organization operating smoothly and efficiently.

In recent years, as workplace culture and business trends continue to evolve, the need for educated HR professionals with the skills and experiences to handle this kind of change has increased as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that human resource manager jobs, for example, will increase by nine percent by 2026, along with dozens of other specialized HR roles with equally promising outlooks.

Read on to learn about some of these top job titles in human resources, and the salaries, career outlooks, and responsibilities that align with them.

Human Resources Titles, Salaries, and Job Outlook

There are a variety of job titles in the field, but at the core of all HR work is a focus on the people in an organization, and the systems, processes, and guidance they need to function effectively within the workplace.

This work can take many forms, resulting in a variety of generalist and specialist HR roles that industry professionals can pursue. While employees in generalist HR positions may handle a variety of people management tasks in their day-to-day work—ranging from recruiting, to processing payroll, to providing employee mediation—those in more niche roles oversee a smaller scope of responsibilities and operate as part of a team within a larger corporation.

Below, we explore the salaries, responsibilities, and job outlooks for both generalized and specialized human resources roles.

1. Human Resources Specialist

Average Salary: $60,880/year

Job Growth by 2026: 7 percent (As fast as average)

Responsibilities: Human resource specialists are generalists within the field, and, as such, cover a variety of vital tasks within the workplace. Alongside a focus on recruitment—including screening, interviewing, reference checking, and handling new hire processes—individuals in this position may also lead employee training, manage employee relations, and oversee compensation and benefits for their teams.

2. Human Resources Manager

Average Salary: $113,300/year

Job Growth by 2026: 9 percent (As fast as average)

Responsibilities: Human resources managers are similar to human resources specialists in that the scope of their work can be very broad. Unlike specialists, however, managers often work directly with executives, helping to develop strategic plans for an organization’s future, and acting as a liaison between the management team and the other employees. To earn this advanced title in human resources, many organizations require candidates to have several years of work experience and a graduate degree such as a Master of Science in Human Resources Management.

3. Training and Development Specialist

Average Salary: $60,870/year

Job Growth by 2026: 11 percent (Faster than average)

Responsibilities: Whereas a portion of an HR specialist or manager’s work may include training employees, individuals in these roles are focused solely on the improvement of their teams. They create and present programs to improve employees’ skills, review corporate policies, outline industry regulations, or provide company updates.

4. Training and Development Manager

Average Salary: $111,340/year

Job Growth by 2026: 10 percent (Faster than average)

Responsibilities: Training and development managers work directly with specialists of the same title, though the manager’s work is done at an advanced level. These managers oversee the development of staff, focusing on determining what content employees need to be trained on, and what format that training should take, whether it be a video, a slideshow, or a more collaborative group discussion. These individuals must also establish training budgets, evaluate the effectiveness of training processes, and make updates to the company’s approach to development over time. This is another role which often requires employees to have an advanced degree in a related field.

5. Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist

Average Salary: $63,000/year

Job Growth by 2026: 9 percent (As fast as average)

Responsibilities: Individuals in these roles research the best plans and programs for employee benefits and compensation, and often present those recommendations to higher-level human resources managers. They may also work with on-staff recruiters or talent acquisition coordinators to review position requirements and determine classification or salary.

6. Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Manager

 Average Salary: $121,010/year

Job Growth by 2026: 5 percent (As fast as average)

Responsibilities: Managers at this level not only oversee any specialists who work beneath them, but also collaborate directly with management and other senior staff to provide insight and make recommendations for the future. They often perform data analysis on salary trends, employee retention, and other industry statistics, and report those findings to executives. In some larger corporations, this role may also be divided between two managers, one which is in charge of compensation, and one which is in charge of benefits. As an advanced and often technical role that requires access to sensitive information, hiring managers often prefer candidates with a master’s degree when filling these positions.

7. Talent Acquisition Manager

 Average Salary: $77,152/year

Responsibilities: Talent acquisition managers oversee internal hiring possibilities, work with outside staffing agencies and university administrators, and manage candidate benefit and compensation options. They often use online recruitment systems like LinkedIn and Indeed to promote open roles, and must evaluate the success of these tools with the analysis and interpretation of data generated from these sites. This data may describe candidate engagement, compare salaries to similar jobs, and review other such patterns on postings. Due to the managerial level and the highly technical work done by individuals in these positions, talent acquisition managers often hold a master’s degree.

Interested in advancing your career in HR? Explore Northeastern’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management program and consider taking the next step toward a career in this promising industry.