By: Jon Jelinek
The job market is picking up across many corporate disciplines. Unemployment rates have dipped to their lowest levels in years. A sigh of relief seems to have swept across America. And HR is no exception; take my advice and join the bandwagon now!
When I told my mother about how I solely recruit in the HR discipline, she exclaimed “Yes! The personnel department.” Oh how the times have changed. Gone are the days where HR is viewed as “personnel.” While human resource managers still must perform the administrative duties of employee relations, recruitment and onboarding, today, these same people must also double as consultants to top executives in strategic planning.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for HR professionals is expected to grow at a rate that is above average in comparison to other fields over the course of the next decade. Overall employment in this sector is set to grow 22 percent between now and 2018.
So, what’s the force behind this increase? According to the BLS website, the recently passed health care reform legislation will likely increase demand for specialists who can design creative benefits packages for companies and prospective employees alike. Similarly, “legislation and court rulings revising standards in various areas—occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, wages, healthcare, retirement plans, and family leave, among others—will increase demand for human resources, training, and labor relations experts.”
On top of all this, we are starting to see growing demand for HR professionals with knowledge, skills, and experience in social media. According to WANTED Analytics, job ads for HR positions that included social media skills in their requirements jumped up 140 percent from one year ago.
So, what about the local market?
Here are a few in-demand positions where I’m seeing an “uptick,” specifically in the Chicago market:
- Contract Recruiters
- HR Managers
- Benefit Specialists
The age old stigma of HR solely being utilized for hiring and firing, or being referred to as “personnel”, has evolved (and will continue to evolve) into so much more. They double as admins, social media gurus, and are viewed as a strategic partner that greatly contributes to an organization’s business objectives. And while the definition of HR expands, so does the potential and growth.
So, what do you say….Could HR be your calling?