From the petroleum and seafood industries to government services, human resource professionals keep Alaska strong by matching the most qualified employees with the state’s economic engines. Through their expertise, HR professionals have indirectly contributed to bringing Alaska’s unemployment rate down to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.2 percent as of August 2019, continuing its steady, downward trend since a high of 8 percent in August 2009.
The following job projections from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development and salary stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal a number of highlights for HR management and specialist professionals in Alaska:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – The median, annual salary for human resources managers in Alaska was $106,750 in May 2018.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – The median salary for compensation and benefits managers in Alaska was $84,020 in May 2018.
- Training and Development Managers – Jobs for training and development managers in Alaska are projected to increase by 11.8 percent between 2016 and 2026 – faster than the projected national growth rate of 10.4 percent for this profession.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – Alaska’s human resources specialists earn a median salary of $66,950, which is about $7,000 more than the national median for this profession.
- Labor Relations Specialists – The median salary for Alaska’s labor relation specialists is $84,560 – much higher than the national median of $63,200 for this profession.
- Training and Development Specialists – Alaska’s training and development specialists earn the highest average salaries in the nation, at $85,050. Alaska also has the fourth highest concentration of training and development specialist jobs in the nation.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – Jobs for compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists in Alaska are expected to increase by 8.3 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is in line with the national projected growth rate of 8.4 percent for these professionals.
- Human Resources Assistants – Human resources assistants in Alaska earn a median salary of $45,890, which is nearly $6,000 more than the national median for these HR pros.
As employment in key industries increases, a greater demand for the HR professionals that recruit, train and manage a growing number of employees for Alaska’s major public and private-sector employers follows suit.
Some of the largest employers in Alaska responsible for driving job growth for human resources professionals in the state include:
- Fort Wainwright Military Base: Approximately 6,100 employees
- Uni Sea Inc.: Approximately 5,000 employees
- Ted Stevens Anchorage International: Approximately 4,000 employees
- General Communication Inc.: Approximately 2,500 employees
- Providence Alaska Medical Center: Approximately 2,488 employees
Job Descriptions for Human Resource Professional in Alaska’s Major Employment Industries
HR careers in Alaska can generally be placed in two basic categories: government and the private sector. A review of job descriptions provides a better understanding of the nature of HR job functions with major employers from each sector:
Human resource professionals in the private sector must be adaptable and possess a range of skills and education to compete for positions in a competitive field. Examples of HR jobs in Alaska’s private sector include:
- Human Resources Director with Providence Health and Services in Anchorage – This senior-level position involves managing all the complex issues of HR within the Providence system. The position would involve serving as a trusted adviser for employees, as well as managers while solving complex problems with traditional and creative solutions.
- HR Business Partner with ASRC Energy Services in Anchorage – This experienced professional will have a broad understanding of all areas within the HR field. They will oversee recruiting, conduct an analysis of problems, devise and implement solutions, and serve as the point of contact between management and employees.
- HR Coordinator with Trident Seafoods – This professional works with job applicants, employees, and HR managers. Candidates need to be approachable, have a commitment to excellence, and have strong communication skills. They will also greet and provide instructions to on-site visitors as well as manage employee wellness.
Local, State and Federal Government
Federal, state, and local governments provide essential services to the residents of Alaska. Just like any organization, these agencies also need skilled and educated HR professionals to ensure the right applicants are hired for the right positions.
State and Local Government HR Jobs
- Human Resources Professional with the Municipality of Anchorage – This HR professional will carry a variety of duties that include recruitment, candidate selection, employee benefits, employee training, developing job classification and compensation schedules, as well as working with employee and management relations.
- Human Resource Consultant with the State of Alaska – This professional will work in a wide variety of subjects that range from employment law and worker safety/health compliance to recruitment, selection, and job classification. They will also serve as the bridge between personnel and management.
Federal HR Jobs
With 17,000 federal jobs in Alaska, federal HR professionals are essential for ensuring government operations run efficiently and effectively.
Examples of some federal HR jobs in Alaska include:
- Human Resources Assistant GS-06/07 with the Bureau of Land Management in Anchorage – These professionals are involved in payroll and personnel processing. They serve as the bridge between HR managers and employees, and additionally address employee concerns.
- Workforce Management Specialist GS-11 with the Department of the Army in Fort Wainwright – This advanced professional must be able to obtain at least a Secret security clearance. They will conduct workforce management activities and provide administrative support. This includes processing awards, reports, and forms, as well as performing appraisal reviews.
Meeting the Education Requirements for a Career in Human Resources
Many positions in management and specialist roles require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field. Promotions and specialized positions can be contingent on more advanced credentials such as a master’s degree in HR or an MBA in Human Resource Management.
Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
These four-year degree programs are available at several colleges and universities in Alaska:
- Bachelor of Science or Arts (BA or BS) in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science or Arts (BA or BS) in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business – Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resources
Residents can also find online options for their education that allow for more flexible scheduling. A bachelor’s degree in human resources management or a related field like business administration will start with introductory lower-division courses and progress to upper-division topics that will be covered in-depth:
- Principles of financial accounting
- Database concepts and applications
- Principles of management
- Project and operations management
- Organizational behavior
- Strategic human resources management
- Labor and management relations
A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources will qualify candidates for positions such as these:
- Human Resources Director with Providence Health and Services in Anchorage
- HR Business Partner with ASRC Energy Services in Anchorage – Candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business administration, or organizational development. An equivalent combination of education, training, and experience may be substituted in some cases.
- HR Coordinator with Trident Seafoods – Candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree in HR, the social sciences, or business administration. An equivalent combination of education and experience may also be considered.
- Human Resources Professional with the Municipality of Anchorage – Candidates for this position must meet the minimum requirement of having at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources management or a related field.
Master’s Degree in Human Resources
Like an undergraduate degree, students who are interested in a master’s in human resource management or a related degree such as an MBA in organizational management or an MBA in human resource management have several options in Alaska, including online programs. Entrance requirements will vary by educational institution, and can include:
- A minimum GPA requirement, usually 3.0
- Minimum scores on exams like the GRE or GMAT
- Undergraduate degree in a related field such as human resource management or business administration
A course of study for a program like an MBA in human resource management will cover topics that include:
- Employment law
- Financial management
- Organizational behavior and theory
- Business legal environment
- Principles of operations management
- Advanced human resources management
- Advanced leadership
A master’s degree in human resources will qualify candidates for positions such as these:
- Human Resources Director with Providence Health and Services in Anchorage – MBA/MS is a preferred qualification
- Human Resources Professional with the Municipality of Anchorage – This position has five levels (HR Professional I-V) which require increasing education and/or experience. Masters-level studies can substitute for required work experience on a year-for-year basis.
- Human Resource Consultant with the State of Alaska – This position has six levels (HR Consultant I-VI) which each require increasing education and/or experience.
- Workforce Management Specialist GS-11 with the Department of the Army in Fort Wainwright – Candidates will need an additional three years of progressively higher education after a master’s degree to be eligible for this position.
Professional HR Certifications
Employers in Alaska will occasionally prefer or require applicants to hold HR certification offered by a professional human resources organization. There are a number of such certifications offered by three well recognized organizations:
- SHRM-CP (certified professional)
- SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
- Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
- Associate Professional in Human Resources – International (aPHRi)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- Professional in Human Resources – International (PHRi)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources – International (SPHRi)
- Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
- Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
- Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP)
Companies that require or prefer professional HR certification include:
- HR Business Partner with ASRC Energy Services in Anchorage – candidates with a Professional in Human Resources (PHP) certification or equivalent are shown preference
- HR Coordinator with Trident Seafoods – Candidates will need to become a member of SHRM within two months of hire
Local Resources for HR Professionals
HR professionals looking for additional resources in Alaska will find these helpful:
- Alaska Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA)
Important HR Departments in Alaska
- Providence Health and Services Careers
- ASRC Energy Services Careers
- Trident Seafoods Human Resources
- CH2M Hill Careers
- Alaska Airlines Careers
- Alaska Department of Personnel and Labor Relations
- City of Fairbanks Human Resources
- Employee Relations – Municipality of Anchorage
- Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
HR Staffing Firms in Alaska
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#11-9111. The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and its MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
Job growth projections sourced from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.
Examples of HR positions were taken from a survey of job listings in the state at the time of this writing and are shown for illustrative purposes only. These examples do not represent job offers or positions that are currently available.