In June of 2012, Iowa governor Terry Branstad launched the Skilled Iowa Initiative, a program designed to help employers ensure that potential employees are qualified for job openings. Playing a large part in this program have been human resources recruitment, training and placement specialists. Through this initiative, human resources managers and specialists have helped to find job placement for more than 29,000 Iowan’s with ACT National Career Readiness Certificates.
According to Iowa Workforce Development, the number of jobs involving the management of human capital is expected to increase by 38.7% between 2012 and 2022, which would be the largest projected increase of any occupational classification in the state.
The demand for HR managers and specialists far outpaces the state’s projections for overall employment growth, though the link between the two is clear as a growing workforce puts a premium on the HR professionals that recruit, train and manage new talent in Iowa’s biggest growth industries. Iowa Workforce Development projects an estimated 188,200 new jobs to be created in the state between 2012 and 2022, an increase of roughly 12 percent.
Exploring HR Careers with Iowa’s Biggest Employers
Iowa’s top five employers are also the companies driving much of the demand for HR professionals throughout the state:
- Genesis Medical Center Gen Nmbrs in Davenport – 9,000 employees
- Principal Financial Group Inc in Des Moines – 8,000 employees
- University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City – 7,135 employees
- Rockwell Collins Inc in Cedar Rapids – 7,000 employees
- Iowa State University in Ames – 6,163 employees
Though it widely known that HR professionals handle a variety of workplace duties including staffing, resolving inter-staff disputes, and helping employees understand their benefits, job descriptions give a more comprehensive understanding of the daily functions of the HR professionals that work with some of Iowa’s top employers (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resources Generalist, Client Growth Consultants – The generalist will work with the company’s talent acquisition team, the general manager, and the president to identify, attract, and successfully recruit employees.
Human Resources Recruiter, Mercy Hospital – Job duties include the implementation of a corporate recruitment strategy, interviewing potential employees, and providing other corporate human resources services to affiliated subsidiaries of the hospital.
Human Resources Specialist, Renewable Energy Group, Inc. – The human resources specialist will manage the electronic timekeeping system, assist employees in issues related to pay and salary, and assist in job fairs and educational presentations.
The Right Education for HR Managers and Specialists
Just some of the degree majors relevant to the HR training specialists, recruiters, compensation and benefits managers, labor relations specialists, and HR managers that work for Iowa’s top employers include:
- Human resources
- Human resource management
- Business administration
- Industrial relations
- Industrial organizational relations/psychology
A bachelor’s degree is appropriate for most positions, including those in lower-to-mid-level management. Upper-level management, consultant and executive positions are generally reserved for those with a master’s degree of specialized MBA.
Undergraduate human resources programs give students a foundation of knowledge and skills applicable to the professional human resources fields. Bachelor’s degrees related to human resources, including the Bachelor of Science (BS), the Bachelor of Arts (BA), and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), are sought as a minimum requirement by most of Iowa’s human resources employers.
Examples of bachelor’s degree programs related to human resources available online and at schools throughout Iowa include:
- Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Human Resources Concentration
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources & Organizational Development
Bachelor’s degree programs offer a variety of courses designed to prepare students for the diverse challenges of working with employees in the corporate environment:
- Organizational Development
- Organizational Change
- Management for Organizations
- Human Resources Management
- Business Law
- Principles of Accounting
- Recruiting and Staffing
While a bachelor’s degree is often a minimum requirement for human resources workers, many employers prefer that candidates for management positions possess a master’s degree related to the field. While most HR grad programs accept students with a broad range of undergraduate degrees, they sometimes require specific courses related to areas such as management.
Examples of master’s degrees appropriate for human resource managers include:
- Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
- Master of Human Resources (MHR)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Human Resources
- Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management
- Master of Arts (MA) in Management with a Human Resources concentration
Master’s degree programs give professionals the opportunity to learn skills related to the management of human capital throughout large enterprises:
- Operations management
- Quantitative analysis for decision making
- Best Practices in HR
- HR Leadership and Ethics
- Marketing strategies
- Internal Consulting Skills
Employers sometimes prefer that job candidates possess voluntary certification from a national organization. Several of these organizations and the certification options they offer include:
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- SHRM-CP (certified professional)
- SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
- 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
- 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*
The education requirements listed in the following recent job postings demonstrate the value of undergraduate and graduate degrees related to human resources (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resources Coordinator, Iowa State University – The position requires a bachelor’s degree and 2 years of related experience; or a master’s degree and related experience.
Recruiting Specialist, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company – Ideal candidate will have completed undergraduate studies in human resource management, business or related areas.
Human Resources Specialist, The University of Iowa – A bachelor’s degree in human resources management or business administration or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience is required.
Human Resources Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Community College – Required is a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, management, organizational development or related field.
Human Resources Employers and Professional Associations in Iowa
What follows is a list of human resources employers and professional associations in Iowa.
- HRE|DAS Human Resources | Iowa Department of Human Resources
- Human Resources Page – Johnson County Iowa
- Human Resources Des Moines
- Human Resource Association of North Iowa
- Iowa Senior Human Resources Association
- Eastern Iowa Human Resource Association