The businesses that fuel Florida’s economic engines – whether in local tourism or high finance – are only as effective as the professionals that make up their HR departments. Across all industries and sectors – from tourism and hospitality to state and federal government – Florida’s human capital is organized and managed by the HR professionals that recruit, place and train the state’s skilled workforce.
In order to attract and support top HR talent with the right education and experience, companies with operations in Florida offer some of the highest salaries and best employment opportunities in the nation.
Job projections from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal a number of highlights for the state’s HR professionals:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – The number of human resources managers in Florida is projected to increase by 19.6 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s much faster than the national projected increase of 9 percent during the same period for these professionals.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – The number of Florida’s compensation and benefits managers is projected to rise 15.2 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s nearly three times the national projected increase of 5.1 percent during the same period. The median salary for these HR managers is $106,590.
- Training and Development Managers – The number of training and development managers is projected to increase 21.7 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is about twice the national projected increase of 10.4 percent during the same period.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – Florida’s human resources specialists enjoy the fourth highest employment level in the U.S. Florida was home to 35,350 HR specialists in May 2018. These professionals earn a median salary of $53,060.
- Labor Relations Specialists – Labor relations specialists in Florida enjoy the third highest employment level in the nation. These professionals earn a median salary of $55,700.
- Training and Development Specialists – Training and development specialists in Florida earn a median salary of $53,440. The number of these professionals is projected to increase by 20.8 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s about twice as much as the national projected increase of 10.4 percent during this time.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – The median salary for Florida’s compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists is $48,570.
- Human Resources Assistants – Florida’s human resources assistants have the fourth highest employment level in the nation. As of May 2018, Florida was home to 7,230 of these professionals.
Florida’s largest employers drive much of the demand for highly skilled HR professionals in Florida. The BLS identifies the following companies as the largest employers in Florida as of August 2019:
- Disneyworld – 62,000 employees
- Palm Beach County Schools – 35,000 employees
- University of Florida – 26,000 employees
- Florida Hospital – 17,860 employees
- Pensacola Naval Air Station – 15,000 employees
- Orlando Health – 14,000 employees
- University of South Florida – 13,584 employees
- Gimbel International – 10,000 employees
- T-Mobile – 10,000 employees
- Epcot – 9,000 employees
A Closer Look at HR Careers with Some of Florida’s Top Employers
Human resources professionals in Florida are found working in state and federal government agencies as well as in private enterprises of all kinds:
- Private sector (nonfarm) jobs – 9.02 million workers
- Government jobs – 1.12 million workers
As of August 2019, the BLS reported that Florida’s total workforce was 10.39 million strong. Of this workforce, 10.04 million were wage and salary employees recruited, trained and managed by HR professionals.
The following job listings provide insight into the types of HR jobs available in Florida’s private and public sectors (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
Private Sector HR Careers
HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – This professional is responsible for using a high degree of talent while providing a consultative approach to the delivery of HR services in Disney’s global work environment. This includes influencing leadership and decision-making processes, as well as assessing emerging organization, business, and personnel trends.
HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami – This professional is responsible for managing daily HR activities, including answering employee questions about HR policies and procedures, investigating claims of harassment and discrimination, making recommendations to legally accommodate employees, and creating HR reports to present to management.
Employee Relations Manager with American Express in Fort Lauderdale – This professional is responsible for championing the employee experience. This professional must deliver employee relations support and counsel, develop proactive solutions to personnel problems, handle sensitive employee investigations, provide guidance to HR business partners and management, and administer a broad range of HR programs.
Public Sector HR Careers
Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida – This professional is responsible for important HR activities that include payroll administration, personnel training and administrative support. Other duties include knowledge of and adherence to employment law, leave of absence requests, employee relations counseling, and compliance with recruitment guidelines.
Human Resources Analyst with the City of Jacksonville – This professional will design, implement, and maintain important HR programs. Examples of job duties include coordinating personnel reductions, developing and revising job specifications, conducting job audits, creating employee training programs, auditing HR records and reports, developing collective bargaining agreements, and analyzing HR data.
Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Air National Guard at Camp Blanding – This professional is responsible for important HR administrative work. Duties can include working with supervisors to advise about personnel eligibility requirements for training courses, completing personnel actions such as discharges or promotions, and preparing payroll for uniform allowances.
Earning the Right Credentials for a Career in Human Resources
Education is one of the most important investments prospective HR professionals can make. A bachelor’s degree in human resources is often a minimum requirement for most generalist, specialist, and lower-level management jobs, while leadership positions in upper-level management are typically reserved for those with a master’s degree or specialized MBA in human resource management.
Florida residents have many options when it comes to choosing schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in human resources and human resource management (HRM). In addition to multiple campus locations throughout the state, these schools also offer flexible online programs designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.
Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
A four-year degree in human resources or HRM will often start with general undergraduate requirements, followed by core courses such as:
- Business mathematics
- Business writing
- Introduction to human resources
- HR and diversity management
- Personnel compensation and benefits
- Human resources information systems
- Union relations management
- Staff recruitment, training, and development
A bachelor’s degree in human resources or human resource management will fulfill the education requirements for jobs like (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – Applicants for this position must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field
- HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami – Candidates for this position must have a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience and training
- Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida – Candidates for this position must have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, employment law, business administration, public administration, or a closely related field
- Human Resources Analyst with the City of Jacksonville – Candidates can qualify for this position with a combination of education, training, and work experience in the field of human resources
Master’s Degree in Human Resources – MBA in Human Resource Management
HR managers, specialists, and lower-level managers pursue master’s degrees and specialized MBAs in human resource management as a way to advance in their career, or reorient a career toward strategic HR management.
When considering a graduate program, enrolling students will find admission requirements often include:
- Undergraduate degree – this may also include the required completion of certain HR and business-related prerequisite courses
- Letters of recommendation
- Minimum GPA and testing scores
- Completion of the GRE or GMAT
When choosing a master’s program in HR, Florida-based professionals have several options:
- Masters certificate in HR – These one-year certificate programs result in an advanced understanding of HR academic principles
- MBA in Human Resource Management – This degree prepares students to be leaders in business, specifically in the field of HR
- General master’s degree (MA or MS in human resources) – This degree prepares students for a wide variety of upper-level HR careers
- A specialized master’s program in HR that focuses on a particular area, such as:
- HR Management
- International HR
- Employment laws and collective bargaining
- Labor Relations
All HR and HRM master’s programs share some common elements, including courses like:
- Critical thinking in management and human resources
- Conflict management and labor issues
- Metrics for HR management
- Employee wellness management models
- Performance and talent acquisition/management
- Reward systems management
- Advanced staffing organization
- Closely-managed HR systems
- HR planning and strategy
- HR in the global marketplace
A master’s degree in HR or HRM will fulfill the education requirements for any of the following positions (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – Candidates for this position should have a master’s degree in a field related to human resources
- Employee Relations Manager with American Express in Fort Lauderdale – Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree
- Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Air National Guard at Camp Blanding – Candidates for this position can qualify by completing at least one year of graduate-level study or with exceptional academic performance while earning an undergraduate degree
- Human Resources Business Partner with DISH Network in Fort Lauderdale – Candidates for this position are expected to have a master’s degree
- Human Resources Manager with Bookit.com in Panama City Beach – Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree
Professional HR Certification
Professional certification is often a preferred qualification and can also fulfill the minimum requirements for some HR jobs. Some of the most respected certifying agencies are:
- 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)
Examples of some employers that prefer or require professional HR certification include (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration
- HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami
- Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida
- Human Resources Business Partner with DISH Network in Fort Lauderdale
- Human Resources Manager with Bookit.com in Panama City Beach
Resources for Tomorrow’s HR Professionals
Prospective human resources professionals can learn more about what it takes to develop a successful career in HR through the following local resources:
Professional HR Associations
- Florida Public Human Resources Association
- Greater Orlando Society for Human Resource Management
- Human Resource Association of Broward County
- Society for Human Resource Management of Southwest Florida
- North Central Florida Society for Human Resource Management
- National Human Resources Association in South Florida
- Human Resource Association of Palm Beach County
- South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association
Major HR Departments in the Public and Private Sectors
- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
- American Express
- Universal Orlando Resort
- State of Florida Human Resource Management
- CareerSource Florida
- City of Jacksonville Employee Services Department
- City of Miami Department of Human Resources
- City of Tampa Human Resources
- Saint Petersburg Human Resources
- Federal jobs website USAJOBS
Professional HR Staffing Agencies
- Steven Douglas Associates
- David Wood Personnel
- Human Resource Innovators
- Ad-Vance Talent Solutions
- Express Employment Professionals
- Uniforce Staffing Solutions
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.
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_fl.htm#11-9111. The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
Job growth projections sourced from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity 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.