Whether with major multinational corporations, government agencies, or in Arkansas’ healthcare industry, human resources professionals are responsible for managing human capital for the state’s major employers.
The following job projections from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and salary stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal a positive environment for HR managers, specialists, and assistants in Arkansas:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – The job growth rate of 14.1 percent between 2016 and 2026 for Arkansas’ human resources managers is much higher than the national projected growth rate of 9 percent for these professionals.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – The median salary for compensation and benefits managers in Arkansas was $87,440 as of May 2018.
- Training and Development Managers – The number of training and development managers in Arkansas is projected to rise by 16.1 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s much higher than the national projected growth rate of 10.4 percent for these professionals.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – HR specialists in Arkansas earn a median salary of $51,420, which is about $9,000 below the national median of $60,350.
- Labor Relations Specialists – Labor relations specialists in Arkansas earn a median salary of $44,070, while the top earners (those in the 90th percentile) earn an average salary of $59,520.
- Training and Development Specialists – Job growth among Arkansas’ training and development specialists is 16.5 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much higher than the national projected growth rate of 11.5 percent
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – A 14.9 percent increase in compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialist jobs in Arkansas between 2016 and 2026 reveals the many job opportunities available in this profession here.
- Human Resources Assistants – Human resources assistants in Arkansas earn a median annual salary of $36,280, which is just about $4,000 less than the national median salary for these HR professionals.
As is evident from the statewide unemployment rate of just 3.4 percent as of August 2019, Arkansas’ major industry employers are actively building their labor force. More people going to work means a greater demand for HR professionals who recruit, train, and retain the state’s workforce.
A Closer Look at Human Resources Careers in Arkansas
According to BLS stats, the largest employers in Arkansas in 2019 were:
- Walmart Inc. – Approximately 22,000 jobs
- Office of Research Administration – Approximately 12,000 jobs
- University of Arkansas – Approximately 10,000 jobs
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Surgery – Approximately 19,700 jobs
- University of Arkansas System – Approximately 10,000 jobs
- Sam’s Club Division – Approximately 5,000 jobs
HR careers in Arkansas can be divided into two main categories: government employers and private employers. The following job descriptions provide a deeper insight into what’s involved in working in the HR departments of some of the state’s major employers (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Human Resources Specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services in Little Rock – This professional will be responsible for performing activities that include personnel recruitment, interviewing, and orientation. They will also provide correctional oversight and foster the growth of employees.
- Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – This upper-level professional will be responsible for ensuring the city’s Human Resources Department functions efficiently. Duties include interviewing, hiring, and training employees, directing, planning, and assigning work, creating performance appraisals, as well as addressing and resolving problems.
HR jobs with federal agencies operating in Arkansas are classified according to the federal General Schedule (GS), a 15-level scale that designates required education and work experience (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Department of the Air Force – This professional must possess a strong understanding of HR procedures, guidelines, policies, and directives. Duties for this position include employee recruitment and placement, employee relations, creating job classifications, incentive awards, and development activities.
- Human Resources Specialist (GS-09) with the Department of the Army – This advanced professional will be responsible for providing guidance and expertise for all military personnel in Arkansas. They will oversee one of these HR programs: Standard Installation and Division Personnel Systems, Office of Personnel Management, or Enlisted Personnel Management.
Like their public-sector counterparts, HR professionals in the private sector provide the organizational talent necessary to keep Arkansas’ economy running strong. Each company will have its own job descriptions, like those shown in the following examples (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- HR Service Representative with JB Hunt in Lowell – This professional will provide HR customer service support for current employees. They will be a resource for questions about group benefit plans, company policies, and other HR policies.
- Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – This professional will be focused on talent development, scouting, recruiting, and interviewing prospective employees to find the best matches for the company. Other duties will include developing creative solutions to HR problems and one-on-one coaching.
- Human Resources Generalist with Georgia-Pacific – This professional will act as a bridge between personnel and management. Duties include daily HR support, disciplinary decision-making, employee compensation and training, and talent search.
Qualifying for a Career in HR Management and Other Key HR Specialty Areas
The leading employers in Arkansas will often prefer or require HR professionals with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and/or a professional certification in human resources.
Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
There are several colleges and universities in Arkansas that offer BA/BS or BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Human Resources degrees through online, campus-based, and blended programs. In-state residents can apply for these four-year programs, which would involve studying introductory subjects initially and progressing to upper-level courses such as these:
- Principles of microeconomics
- Principles of macroeconomics
- General human psychology
- English technical report writing
- Foundational human resources development
- Professional leadership development
- Workplace diversity
- Management and development of human resources programs
- Career development
- Workplace operational dynamics
Candidates can meet the education requirement for the following jobs with a BA/BS or BBA in Human Resources (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Human Resources Specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services in Little Rock – To qualify for this position, candidates must be high school graduates and have at least three years of HR experience. A four-year degree may satisfy the experience requirement and give candidates preferred skills that relate to communication and interpersonal relations.
- Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – Candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field related to human resources management.
- HR Service Representative with JB Hunt in Lowell – Applicants for this position must have a high school diploma and at least seven months of related experience or training. These requirements may also be fulfilled with a bachelor’s degree.
- Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – This position requires a bachelor’s degree in a field related to human resources or business management.
Master’s Degree in Human Resources – MBA in Human Resource Management
Colleges and universities in Arkansas also offer online and traditional master’s degree programs in the HR field. Prospective students will need to start by meeting the master’s program entry requirements, which are unique to each educational institution and can include (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Minimum exam score on a test such as the GRE or GMAT
- Completion of an undergraduate degree in an HR-related field or completion of HR prerequisite courses
- Letters of recommendation or a personal essay
- Minimum cumulative GPA or minimum GPA on core-HR undergraduate courses
Depending on the program, a master’ degree in an HR field can range between one and two years. Topics that will be studied as part of the program include:
- Human resources and diversity
- Organizational analysis
- International human resources models
- Strategic human resources work development
- Advanced management and organizational theory
- Leadership and management psychology
- Corporate culture, benefits, and advancement
Candidates can meet the education requirements for the following careers with a master’s degree in Human Resources (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Department of the Air Force – Candidates will need at least one year of graduate studies or superior academic achievement as an undergrad to qualify for this position.
- Human Resources Specialist (GS-09) with the Department of the Army – Candidates for this position must have a master’s degree or at least two years of graduate-level education.
- Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – While applicants for this position must have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in HR or business administration is preferred.
- Human Resources Manager with L’Oréal in North Little Rock – Applicants can qualify for this position by having a master’s degree in human resources management, plus three years of HR work experience.
- Director of Talent Development Management with Wal-Mart in Bentonville – While candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as human resources or business, applicants with a master’s degree in organizational development or a related field of study are preferred.
Professional HR Certification
There are several nationally-recognized professional HR certification companies. Each of these offers its own unique certification that comes with unique requirements. Some of the most well respected certifying organizations include:
- 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)
The following jobs either require or prefer applicants who have a professional HR certification (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – Candidates who have an HR professional certification are preferred.
- Human Resources Generalist with Tenneco in Paragould – Candidates who have an HRCI or SHRM certification are preferred.
- Human Resources Manager I with Cooper Tire in Texarkana – Candidates who have an HRCI or SHRM certification are preferred.
- Senior HR Generalist with Evergreen Packaging in Pine Bluff – Candidates who have a professional certification from SHRM are preferred.
Local HR Resources in Arkansas
Prospective HR professionals can find additional career resources with the following local resources in Arkansas:
Professional HR Associations
- Human Resource Management Association of Arkansas
- Arkansas Society for Human resource Management – ARSHRM
- Western Arkansas Human Resource Association
- Northwest Arkansas Human Resource Association
- South Arkansas Human Resource Association
- Central Arkansas Human Resource Association
Major HR Departments in Arkansas
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
- Arkansas Department of Human Services
- Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
- City of Fayetteville Human Resources
- City of Little Rock Human Resources
- Federal USAJOBS
- JB Hunt careers
- Tyson Foods Careers
- Baptist Health jobs
- Georgia-Pacific careers
HR Staffing Agencies in Arkansas
- Client First Staffing Solutions
- Human Resources Personnel Agency
- 1st Employment Staffing
- The Hughes Agency
- Trac Staffing
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_ar.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 Arkansas Department of Workforce Services 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.