Mississippi’s economy is growing, which is music to the ears of the state’s workforce, including human resources professionals. While the growth of this southern state has been slow (It gained an additional 11,000 jobs between 2018 and 2019.), it’s all good news for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants at all earning and experience levels because growth in the economy translates to growth in the HR field.
The unemployment rate here also continues to post positive results, dropping to 5.2 percent in August 2019. This means much stronger job prospects in a number of the state’s key industries, which has spurred hiring for the human resources professionals responsible for recruiting, vetting, hiring, and training new employees.
A closer look at the prospects for human resources professionals in Mississippi is provided by salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job growth projections from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – Human resources managers in Mississippi earn a median salary of $83,000 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $143,850.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – Compensation and benefits managers in Mississippi earn a median salary of $77,640 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $153,840.
- Training and Development Managers – The number of training and development managers in Mississippi is projected to grow 12.5 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s higher than the national projected growth rate of 10.4 percent for this profession.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – Mississippi’s HR specialists earn a median salary of $47,280.
- Labor Relations Specialists – Labor relations specialists in Mississippi earn a median salary of $64,120, which is about $1,000 more than the national median salary of $63,200 for these HR professionals.
- Training and Development Specialists – The median salary for training and development specialists in Mississippi is $53,040. The top 10% here earn an average salary of $85,670.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – Mississippi’s compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists earn a median salary of $47,310.
- Human Resources Assistants – HR assistants in Mississippi earn a median salary of $37,220, which is about $3,000 less than the national median salary of $40,390 for these professionals.
How to Become a Human Resources Professional through Education and Certification
Entry-level human resources jobs in Mississippi are typically achieved with a bachelor’s degree in business or human resources, while senior positions often require the completion of a master’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degrees for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals
A bachelor’s degree in human resources, which may be designed as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and skills required to oversee the strategic and interpersonal management of company employees.
In addition to allowing students to develop important skills in critical thinking and problem solving, bachelor’s degrees in human resources prepare students to acquire competencies in key HR activities, which include:
- Training and development
- Performance management
- Compensation and benefits
- Legal compliance
Typical coursework in a bachelor’s degree in human resources includes:
- Legal and ethical environment of business
- Human resources development and management
- Conflict management and negotiation
- Training and staff development
- Organizational development
Master’s Degrees for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals
Individuals working toward senior-level and managerial jobs in human resources, such as employee relations directors, compensation managers, staffing managers, and HR directors, among others, are best served by pursuing a graduate degree in human resources.
Master’s–level degree programs in human resources may be designed as a Master of Human Resources (MHR), Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Science (MS), or a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Just a few of the options for master’s degrees in human resources include:
- Master of Arts in Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
- Master of Science in Human Resources
- Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a Human Resources specialization
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Human Resources Management
- Executive MBA – Human Resources Management concentration
Many programs allow students to generalize their master’s degree in human resources or specialize it in a specific area, such as:
- Training and development
- Performance management
- Compensation and benefits
- Legal compliance
- Employment and labor law
Admission into a master’s degree program in human resources generally requires the completion of specific finance and business undergraduate courses, as well as a minimum undergraduate GPA and some type of experience in human resources or business. However, most programs admit students with a variety of undergraduate degrees making them ideal for career changers.
Professional Certification for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals
Professional certification has become a popular pursuit among human resources professionals, particularly for those in management or supervisory positions.
Professional certification, although voluntary, allows human resources professionals to exhibit a commitment to the industry and to their profession. The most widely recognized HR certifications 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)
What Mississippi’s Top Employers Look for in a Human Resources Manager
Mississippi’s job market for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants is varied, as is evident from recent job descriptions that detail the responsibilities and requirements of these professionals (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resources Associate: University of Mississippi, Oxford
This position involves performing and coordinating various activities and functions that support the areas of training and employment. This professional assists with projects, maintains reports, and assists with education and training efforts.
Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university and at least six months of experience in human resources.
Human Resources Coordinator: ABM, Jackson
This position involves handling all HR-related functions, including payroll, benefits, administration of labor contracts, training, employee relations, and recruiting.
Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field.
Employee Relations Specialist: Nissan North America, Canton
This position involves partnering with employees and management to communicate various HR policies, procedures, laws, and standards. It would also involve conducting exit interviews, analyzing data, and making recommendations to management for continuous improvement, responding to employee relation issues, and facilitating workforce training.
Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree in HR or a business-related field, along with at least 3 to 5 years of human resources/employee relations experience.
Human Resources Manager: Georgia-Pacific, Hattiesburg
Responsibilities for this position include interpreting policies and practices, identifying HR compliance risks and developing gap closure plans to ensure compliance, and coaching employees on the culture of the company.
Candidates for this position must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree or higher and at least two years of HR generalist/manager experience. Preferred candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in human resources and HR experience in a manufacturing or industrial environment.
Top Employers for Human Resources Managers and Specialists in Mississippi
Jobs for professionals in human resources, such as compensation consultants, labor relations specialists, and human resources business analysts, are most plentiful among companies that employ large numbers of workers and among those anticipating growth.
As of September 2019, the BLS identifies the following as some of Mississippi’s largest employers:
- Beau Rivage Resort & Casino: 30,000 employees
- Nissan North America, Canton: 6,300 employees
- North Mississippi Health Services: 5,000 employees
- Baptist Health Systems: 3,000 employees
- Harrah’s Gulf Coast: 3,000 employees
- University of Mississippi Medical Center: 3,000 employees
- Trustmark Financial Services: 3,000 employees
Resources for Management Professionals in Human Resources
State and regional professional organizations often serve as valuable resources for aspiring and practicing HR professionals:
- Mississippi Society for Human Resource Management and the Mississippi State Council
- Northeast Mississippi Human Resources Association
- Mississippi Valley Human Resources Association
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_ms.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 Mississippi Department of Employment Security 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.