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Salaries for Human Resources Managers

Job Title: Human Resources Manager
Name: David Kennely
Where: Tucson, Arizona
Employer: Manufacturer
Years of Experience: 7
Other Relevant Experience: 2 years Customer Service Representative
Education: B.A. in Psychology, Master's Degree in Human Resources Management
Annual Salary: Median Salaries for Human Resources Managers range from $42,000 to $67,000 based on experience.

Like many students, David Kennely entered college without a clear vision of his future career. He had an interest in Psychology Careers and knew he wanted to work with people. After exploring his options he eventually found a career that fit his preferences, allowing him to create balance within the workplace.

Today, David Kennely is a human resources manager who loves his job. In this Salary Story, David explains how human resources management plays a role in maintaining healthy employer-employee relationships within his company. In David’s words, “good human resources is just good business.”

Human Resources Manager Job Description:

David: I am a Human Resources Manager for a manufacturing company in Tucson, Arizona. To put it simply, my job is to maintain positive relations with the company’s employees, and assure that they are receiving their needs. I basically oversee the relationship between the company and our employees. But like I said, that’s a pretty simple explanation. To give you a better idea, I’ll elaborate on some of my daily activities.

A large part of being a human resources manager involves serving people, so each day can vary somewhat, depending on what crops up.  Common activities include reviewing resumes, interviewing job applicants, and hiring new employees. I also review employee compensation and benefit packages and conduct employee reviews. The demands of a company are constantly changing as well, so I coordinate with company managers and executives to discuss departmental needs and possible improvements to specific HR functions. And, as we change the way our HR programs operate, I make routine updates to employee handbooks and memorandums. 

As you can see, my job responsibilities cover a wide assortment of day-to-day tasks. There’s always enough variety and work to keep me moving. I like that.

PayScale: How did you become interested in a career in human resources management?

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David: I think I’ve always had a compassion for people, and a desire to work with people, maybe serving people. Although, that’s not to say I knew from an early age what I wanted to do. I had no idea!

I was drawn to human relations and I studied Psychology in college. I also earned a minor in Sociology. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I talked to a range of people, including career counselors, and I slowly started to find my direction. As I got further into my studies and career exploration, I became very interested in organizational psychology and workplace dynamics. This lead me to a master’s program in human resources management.

After receiving my master's, it took me almost a year to find a position. I probably sent out 100 or more resumes, and did dozens of interviews before I found the right fit and was hired.

PayScale: What do you love about working in human resources management?

David: I love interacting with a diversity of people, and the diversity of challenges that brings to the table each day. It’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding. If you’re not doing your job right, either an employee or the company will suffer, or both. I like the challenge the job brings, and serving the needs of those people within the organization. 

PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in human resources management?

I’m paid very fair in terms of salaries for human resources managers, but my hours can go beyond the standard 9 to 5 of most jobs. I often arrive early and leave late, so days can get long and tiring. But for the most part, I believe in and enjoy what I do, so the long hours are well worth it. The largest challenge comes with trying to make sure everyone is treated fairly, and all parties are happy.

PayScale: What advice would you give to someone interested in a human resources career?

Aside from getting as much education as you can, I’d suggest developing strong communication skills. A lot of what I do comes down to communication and organization. So much of this job involves interacting with people, from interviews, to meetings, complaints and so on. You need to have good people skills and be able to listen. Not only listen though, you have to be able to assess that information, and use it to improve the organization. That’s kind of what human resources management is all about.

PayScale: What do you find the most amazing or interesting about human resources management?

There’s one concept that has always guided my human resources career. As long as you take care of the people in a company, they will take pride in their work, and company, and therefore produce a good product. You take care of employees and the whole company prospers. You don’t, the company will crumble. The way I see it, good human resources is just good business. It’s really pretty straight forward. I love that about human resources.

One other way I like to look at my job, is that if you treat people with respect and compassion at work, those people will bring that into their lives beyond work. Just like people’s home lives affect the way they arrive to work, a positive work environment can affect their lives outside of work. You get to improve people’s well being in this job. That’s what I like about it.

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