Specifically, employment will increase 55 percent in the employment services industry. About 17 percent of human resources specialists work in this industry, which includes employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations. Organizations will continue to outsource human resources functions to professional employer organizations—companies that provide human resources services to client businesses. Additionally, rather than having recruiters and interviewers on staff, these businesses will contract preliminary staffing work to employment placement and temporary staffing agencies as needed.
In other industries, employment growth largely depends on the growth of individual firms. As firms grow, they will expand their human resources departments to continue to provide the same level of services and functions. Companies will need human resources specialists to find replacements for workers leaving the workforce, and companies are increasingly emphasizing the importance of finding and keeping quality employees. In addition, organizations will likely need more human resources generalists to handle increasingly complex employment laws and health care coverage options.
Employment growth of human resources specialists, however, may be tempered as companies better use available technologies. Rather than sending recruiters to colleges and job fairs, for example, some employers increasingly have their entire recruiting and application process online. In addition, some of the tasks of generalists can be automated or made more efficient using Human Resources Information Systems—software that allows workers to quickly manage, process, or update human resource information.
Overall job opportunities for human resources specialists are expected to be favorable. Opportunities should be best in the employment services industry, as companies continue to outsource portions of their human resources functions to other firms.
Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and related work experience should have the best job prospects. Human resources generalists, in particular, also may benefit from having knowledge of human resources programs, employment laws, and human resources information systems.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Human Resources Specialists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm (visited September 21, 2012).