According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the state’s economy relies largely upon the U.S. economy as a whole, as well as the economies of several international markets, particularly Japan. The relationship between the economies looks to be a positive one for Hawaii, as GDP forecasts for both the U.S. and Japan predict growth through 2016. As the state’s economy strengthens and major employers rebuild their workforce, human resources professionals have been on the front lines in the process of recruiting, hiring and training new talent.
Hawaii currently has a low unemployment rate of 4.1%, which the state expects will decrease to 3.6% by 2016. Additionally, over 25 occupational classifications in the state are expected to see strong growth during the projection period through 2020, giving the state several areas of economic promise.
From recruiters and training specialists to benefits managers and department heads, human resources professionals have played a key role in capitalizing on the positive economic movement happening within the state. Human resources managers, generalists, specialists, and assistants are just some of the professionals who work with company employees to maximize effectiveness in the workplace. Through insight and leadership from human resources departments, companies attract and maintain Hawaii’s most talented professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2014 there were 500 human resources managers, 1,600 human resources specialists, and 930 human resources assistants working in Hawaii. Should the state see continued economic growth, those numbers could rise in the coming years.
Earning the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Obtaining a bachelor’s is an invaluable step for aspiring human resources professionals in Hawaii, whether pursuing jobs in specialist or generalist roles, or even in lower-level management. Master’s degrees and specialized MBA’s are typically best suited for career advancement to higher-level management, consultant and executive positions.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources
A bachelor’s degree in human resources, which can be designed as a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), is often a minimum requisite for human resources management job candidates, as well as those interested in non-managerial roles.
The following degrees are among the one’s aspiring HR managers and specialists most pursue:
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Human Resources Specialization
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration
- Bachelor of Science in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science in Business Project Management
Bachelor’s degrees programs in human resources prepare students for a broad range of skills in business and labor practice. Just some of the courses found in these programs include:
- Compensation and Benefits
- Global Business
- Leadership and Management
- Business Law and Ethics
- Workforce Planning: Recruitment and Selection
- Adult Development
- Advanced Human Resource Management
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources
Some of Hawaii’s top human resources employers look for candidates for upper-level management jobs that hold a master’s degree related to human resources and business administration. Examples include:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources specialization
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources
- Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership with a specialization in Human Resource Management
- Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
The courses in human resources master’s programs prepare students for advanced positions in the field. Examples of these courses include:
- HR Leadership and Ethics
- Financial management
- Managerial accounting
- Negotiation/Advocacy in the Workplace
- Employment Law
- Managing the Global Workforce
- Information technology
- Business Research
- Employee and labor relations
Professional Certification in Human Resources
What follows are examples of professional certifications available through some of the most respected organizations:
- HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
- Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP)
- Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP)
- California Certification for PHR and SPHR certified professionals
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- SHRM-CP (certified professional)
- SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
- Recognition Professionals International (RPI)
- Structuring Recognition Systems for Success – CRP I
- Strategic Planning & Measurement – CRP II*
- Recognition Management & Maintenance – CRP III*
- Applying Recognition Systems – CRP IV
Exploring Human Resources Careers in Hawaii
Human resources professionals in Hawaii are employed in the state, nonprofit, and private sectors. Typically, the state’s largest companies have the most substantial human resources departments. Hawaii’s five largest employers include:
- Altres Medical Honolulu – 10,000 employees
- Kapiolani Medical Ctr Honolulu – 5,000 employees
- Queen’s Medical Ctr Honolulu – 3,500 employees
- Hawaii Health Systems Corp, Honolulu – 3,400 employees
- Tripler Army Medical Center – 2,826 employees
The daily responsibilities of human resources workers in Hawaii vary based on a number of factors. HR professionals in Hawaii’s top industries such as tourism, transportation, and retail trade, for example, will face different tasks than HR workers in state hospitals, even when listed under the same general job classification.
A look as job descriptions from recent postings offers a glimpse into daily human resources duties for a couple of different positions (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only).
HR Consultant, ProService – Job duties include working with client companies to prevent and resolve a number of employee issues. Through consistent communication with these companies, the consultant will assist in dealing with employee complaints, provide HR training, and conduct investigations.
Corporate Recruiter, Hawaiian Airlines – Job duties include talent acquisition, ensuring compliance with federal and state laws and government agency regulations, maintaining relationships with company managers, and overseeing employee candidate pipelines.
The following recent job postings demonstrate the value of having both a human resources degree and professional certification (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only).
Coordinated Service Director, Hawaii State Department of Education – Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in education, educational administration, business administration, or related fields is required. A master’s degree in the aforementioned fields is desirable.
Director of Human Resources, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters – A bachelor’s degree is required, while Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification is preferred.
Employee Relations Manager, Hawaii Pacific Health – A bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business, or related field, and/or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience is required. PHR or SPHR certification is preferred.
Human Resource Specialist, ALTRES – A bachelor’s degree in business administration or related business field is required; SPHR or PHR certification or 2-4 years related human resources experience is also required.
Additional Resources for HR Professionals in Hawaii
Human resources employers in Hawaii are found in the state and private sectors. Following are just some of the organizations and companies that employ Hawaii’s human resources professionals.
Human Resources Staffing Agencies
- ProService Hawaii – HR Administration
- Staffing Solutions of Hawaii
- The Hawaii Group
- Remedy Intelligent Staffing
- Hawaii Human Resources, Inc.