Get Ready For Some Good News: HR Career Prospects Are Improving

Want some good news for a change? If you dig deep into the recent study by U.S. News & World Report on the 100 Best Jobs of 2013, you’ll find some very positive data.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20.5 percent employment growth between 2010 and 2020 for Human Resource positions.

That translates into 61,600 new jobs and 36,700 replacement jobs.

Human Resources, the study says, “… is expected to be a rapid-growth field as the economy continues to recover from the recession.”

The recovery is on … but job competition is tough

So even though today’s career prospects still feel restricted, it looks like things are going to keep opening up. And the growth of new jobs (rather than just getting old ones back) should signal expanding opportunities for moving out or moving up.

Ready and willing to jump ship? Don’t put your Speedo on yet.

A reality check comes from a spokesperson from SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) who says that, “Many companies downsized during the recession, and as they staff back up, they have the luxury of looking at lots of qualified candidates … the most attractive candidates are very focused … you need specific qualifications.”

Translate that into “the competition’s going to continue to be tough” for the jobs that come on the market. But we already knew that, didn’t we?

By the way, the best paid jobs are in Washington D.C. (who knew?) and out here in my neighborhood of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. This is a fabulous place to live, but don’t imagine the higher salaries mean easy street. It’s just really, really expensive here.

Article Continues Below

“The future seems to be brightening”

Spoiler Alert! If you want to quibble about the U.S. World & News Report study, there’s a lot there for you to work with. Some of the findings are so watered down they are almost meaningless, especially for people like me who analyzes job data all day long.

But keep in mind the magazine writers had a much different job to do. They had to pick the 100 best jobs for employment opportunity, whatever that really means.

Imagine what it takes to look at all jobs in the country — across all fields — and compare them? After getting buried in data and given a tight deadline, you’d look for a way to simplify, simplify, too.

That’s why I dug down to share the real data with you. Not the wacky comparisons that the magazine had to cook up to make the job rankings seem plausible. The solid labor statistics. I think it’s good to have this kind of directional data since it turns our heads towards the horizon.

Take a deep breath and look beyond your cubicle. Even if it offers no promises, the future seems to be brightening, don’t you think?

This was originally published at the Compensation Café blog, where you can find a daily dose of caffeinated conversation on everything compensation.

Margaret O'Hanlon is founder and principal of re:Think Consulting. She has decades of experience teaming up with clients to ensure great HR ideas deliver valuable business results. She has worked with early-phase and Fortune 500 companies, as well as universities, non-profits and local firms. Before she founded re:Think Consulting, Margaret was an Principal in Total Rewards Communications with Towers Perrin. Contact her at