In 2012, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a tax-cut measure that has significantly impacted aspects of the state’s economy. One result of the tax cuts has been a proliferation of small businesses, which are growing at an annual rate of 6%. With roughly 44% of the residents of Kansas employed by small businesses, the state has become known for its large community of small, thriving businesses.
With the rise of startups and other new small businesses, human resources managers, specialists, and generalists are in need to ensure companies grow their human resources effectively. Kansas’s unique small business environment often means that human resources workers here have a unique job description that involves developing an enticing salary and benefits package that is affordable to the business while still being substantial enough to attract top talent.
Fittingly, the Kansas Department of Labor projects a job growth rate of 11.4% for HR enterprise managers during the ten-year period between 2008 and 2018, compared to just 9.8% overall job growth for the same period.
While many human resources professionals work in Kansas City, Manhattan has emerged as a particular hotbed for HR work in the state. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the city has the third highest concentration of human resources specialists of all metropolitan areas in the U.S., with 6.49 specialists for every 1,000 jobs.
The Right Education for a Human Resources Career in Kansas
The importance of education and professional certification for aspiring human resources professionals can be seen in the following recent job postings (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only).
Human Resources Representative, YRC Freight – A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or related area; OR an equivalent combination of education and work experience is required.
Human Resources Generalist, Robbie Flexibles – A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field is desired.
Assistant Director of Human Resources, Barton Community College – A bachelor’s degree in human resource management is required, while a master’s degree is preferred.
Human Resources Advisor Job, Alliance Data – Candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with additional PHR / SPHR certification preferred.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources
Bachelor’s degrees related to human resources, in the form of a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), are often a minimum requirement for HR specialist and lower-to-mid-level management jobs.
Among the undergraduate degrees that top employers in Kansas look for include:
- Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Human Resources Concentration
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
- 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
Students in bachelor’s programs develop relevant skills related to the human resources field. Just some of the topics covered in these courses include:
- Global business
- Business ethics
- Business law
- Adult development
- Compensation and benefits
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources
To prepare for careers in human resources management, consultancy, and for executive-level positions, many HR professionals enroll in master’s degree or specialized MBA programs in the field.
Admittance to these programs requires a minimum of an undergraduate degree, and some programs require a 3.0 undergraduate GPA as well as high scores of the GMAT exam.
Examples of degrees sought by Kansas’s top HR employers include:
- Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
- Master of Human Resources (MHR)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources specialization
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management
The coursework in master’s degree programs give students advanced preparation on a variety of HR topics. Examples of courses found in these programs include:
- Managerial accounting
- Research Methods
- Legal Issues and Human Resources
- Information technology
- Financial management
- Performance Management
Professional Certification from National Human Resources Organizations
In addition to formal education, some human resources professionals choose to obtain certification from a national human resources organization. Examples of these organizations and their certification opportunities:
- 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*
An Exploration of Human Resources Careers with Kansas’s Top Employers
Although Kansas has a unique business environment where small-to-medium sized businesses thrive, larger companies in the state also require talented HR departments to ensure the recruitment and retention of talented employees.
As of 2015, Kansas’s top five employers of HR managers, generalists and specialists included:
- Spirit AeroSystems – 12,000 employees
- Sprint – 7,600 employees
- Cessna Aircraft – 4,979 employees
- General Motors Fairfax Plant – 4,000 employees
- Bombardier – 3,500 employees
The daily work of human resources professionals varies based on factors such as company size and industry type. The following job descriptions give a detailed glimpse into the daily work of Kansas’s HR professionals (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only).
Human Resources Manager, Leiszler Oil Co. – Job duties include the development and maintenance of store training programs and reference manuals, conducting exit interviews, and overseeing employee benefit programs.
Talent Acquisition Recruiter Job, Sprint – The recruiter will develop and implement recruiting programs through a variety of methods, including: developing relationships with candidate pipeline sources such as universities, working with hiring managers to document requirements for open positions, and pre-screening candidates during the application process.
Human Resources Benefit Manager, KU Memorial Unions – The manager’s job duties include managing ACA practices and execution, working with the finance department on issues related to employee benefits, and ensuring the company is complying with relevant guidelines.
Kansas’s Human Resources Employers and Associations
Kansas’s human resources professional associations and staffing firms include:
- State Human Resources
- State of Kansas Employee Service Center
- Human Resources – Manhattan, KS
- Human Resources – Kansas City
- Kansas State Council of SHRM
- SHRM of Greater Kansas City
- Southeast Kansas Human Resource Association
- Western Kansas Human Resource Management Association
- Staffing Kansas City Inc
- Syndeo Human Resources Outsourcing
- LSI Staffing
- Allied Staffing
- Key Staffing