A 2.9 percent unemployment rate in August 2019, a budget surplus of more than $175 million, and word from small and large companies alike that business hasn’t been this strong in more than a decade are music to the ears of both aspiring and practicing human resources professionals in Maine because a growing economy demands a growing number of HR professionals who can manage the needs of larger workforces.
In short, Maine’s economy is perfectly poised for exceptional growth and opportunities in the human resources field, whether you’re a recent high school grad or career changer looking to enter the field or a practicing HR professional with aspirations of climbing the career ladder.
Salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job projections from the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information provide a closer look into what HR pros in the Pine Tree State can look forward to:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – Maine’s human resources managers earn a median salary of $97,360 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $153,140.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – The median salary for compensation and benefits managers in Maine is $97,490.
- Training and Development Managers – Training and development managers in Maine earn a median salary of $96,670. The top 10% here earn an average salary of $134,270.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – Human resources specialists in Maine earn a median salary of $56,600.
- Labor Relations Specialists – The median salary for labor relations specialists in Maine is $79,870, which is about $16,000 more than the national median salary for these professionals.
- Training and Development Specialists – The number of training and development specialists in Maine is projected to increase 8.2 percent between 2016 and 2026, rising from 970 to 1,050.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – The number of compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists in Maine is projected to increase 8.6 percent between 2016 and 2026.
- Human Resources Assistants – The median salary for HR assistants in Maine is $38,750, which is just slightly below the national median salary of $40,390 for these professionals.
Maine’s largest companies are the driving force behind much of the growth for jobs in human resources. These organizations require HR pros with a wide range of educational backgrounds and skills who can effectively attract and recruit new talent. Some of Maine’s largest employers in 2019, according to the BLS, include:
- Army National Guard: 7,000 employees
- Maine Medical Center: 5,720 employees
- Eastern Maine Medical Center: 3,544 employees
- Maine General Medical Center: 3,514 employees
- Unum: 3,000 employees
- Pen Bay Medical Center: 2,500 employees
- University of Maine: 2,500 employees
Qualifying for a Career in HR Management or Another Key Area of Specialization
The preferred educational qualifications listed on recent job announcements demonstrate the value of education for those aspiring to enter the field and for those already in the field aspiring to more advanced positions within their HR department (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resource Generalist, Paychex Inc – An associate’s or bachelor’s degree is preferred. Successful completion of PHRS training program is required.
Director of Human Resources, Franklin Memorial Hospital – PHR or SPHR is preferred (both require a master’s degree).
Director of Compensation, Delhaize America – A bachelor’s degree is required, while a master’s degree is preferred.
Human Resources Manager, Lowe’s – Education requirements include a bachelor’s degree in human resources, psychology, business, communication, or a related field.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Employers often require that job candidates for generalist, specialist, and lower-to-mid-level management jobs possess a bachelor’s degree in human resources at a minimum. These degrees, designed as a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), prepare students in the following areas:
- Management for Organizations
- Business Law
- Employee & Labor Relations
- Personal Dimensions of Education
- Recruiting and Staffing
Examples of bachelor’s degrees required for key HR positions include:
- Management Human Resource Degree-Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Human Resources Concentration
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
Master’s Degree Programs
HR graduate programs accept students with undergraduate degrees in a variety of majors so long as they have completed prerequisite courses. Some schools have strict additional requirements, including at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and strong scores on the GMAT exam.
Some of the most common master’s degrees related to human resources include:
- Master of Arts in Management with a Human Resources concentration
- Master of Arts in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources Concentration
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Master of Science in Human Resources
- Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a specialization in Human Resource Management
The skills learned in master’s degree programs prepare students for the most advanced challenges associated with human resources work. These skills are obtained in courses such as:
- Organizational Development
- Employee and Labor Relations
- Compensation and Benefits
- Research Methods
- Finance for HR Leaders
- Performance Management
- Legal Issues and Human Resources
Professional Certification Programs
Some employers prefer that their HR department heads obtain certification in addition to formal education. Examples of certification options 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)
Human Resources Careers with Some of Maine’s Major Employers
The Maine Department of Labor has stated the importance of fostering an environment that will entice higher rates of in-migration. To lure talented professionals to Maine-based companies, HR professionals are responsible for:
- Seeking talented staff through various employment channels
- Developing salaries and benefits packages that entice talented workers
- Working with various company departments to achieve company growth
- Resolving workplace disputes
- Implementing proper communication strategies within the company
- Implementing strategies that effectively couple workers’ diverse talents
In addition to shorter-term tasks like recruiting new employees, human resources professionals perform a variety of daily duties related to workplace development and retention. The following job descriptions provide a detailed look at the daily work of some of Maine’s human resource professionals (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resource Specialist, Bates College – The specialist will ensure employee records are kept up to date, maintain the department website, and offer recommendations on improving departmental efficiency.
Human Resources Representative, GrafTech International Ltd – Job duties include overseeing employment pre- and post-screening, overseeing worker’s compensation claims, and organizing community programs and family activities.
Human Resources Generalist, Woodard & Curran – Job duties include helping staff with issues related to professional development, ensuring company compliance with state and federal laws, and acting as a liaison between organizational teams and project sites.
Maine’s Human Resources Staffing Companies and Professional Associations
Maine is home to state and municipal-level government human resources departments, professional HR associations, and staffing companies, all of which can serve as valuable resources:
- SHRM Maine State Council
- NESHRM – NE Society for Human Resource Management
- Maine Local Government Human Resources Association
Staffing Companies and Firms
- Human Resource Consulting – Maine Staffing Group
- Capital Area Staffing Solutions
- Maine Staffing Group
- Manpower Maine
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_me.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 Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information 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 September 2019.