In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recognized New Jersey’s human resource managers as the top earners in the nation within their job classification, bringing home an average salary of around $144,000 a year.
The DOL also reported that of all metropolitan areas in the nation, the New York-New Jersey metropolitan division is number one in terms of having the highest number of HR managers and specialists.
Industry-specific job growth has always served as a key indicator for where the greatest need for human resources professionals lie. The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that between 2012 and 2022, some 131,000 new jobs are expected to become available in the state, with healthcare, telecommunications and academia leading the way.
As of 2014, the companies that have contributed most to job creation in New Jersey, included:
- Wakefern Foods – 36,000 employees
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – 28,700
- Barnabas Health – 18,000
- WalMart – 17,900
- Verizon – 15,800
- UPS – 14,800
- Johnson & Johnson – 13,500
- United Airlines – 13,400
- Bank of America – 12,000
As New Jersey-based companies continue to hire new talent, human resource professionals are on the front lines to recruit, train, and manage the growing workforce.
What New Jersey’s Top Employers Look for When Hiring and Promoting HR Staff
Jobs in human resources can be highly specialized, and include such job titles as:
- Training Coordinator or Supervisor
- Talent Acquisition Consultant
- Employee Relations Consultant
- Recruiting or Hiring Coordinator
- Human Resources Senior Manager
- Human Resources Analyst
Job descriptions and related requirements reveal what some of New Jersey’s top employers are looking for in job applicants (findings from a survey of HR job vacancies taken in May 2015 are shown for illustrative purposes and do not constitute job offers):
Training Supervisor with Nestlé in Freehold – Candidates looking to qualify for a job such as this should hold a BA or BS in human resources, training and development, organizational development, or a related field. Along with this, they should acquire at least three years of experience in training and development.
This professional would oversee training systems and project management, including developing custom training solutions and managing training needs, design, and documentation.
Senior Manager, Human Resources for Johnson & Johnson in Raritan – While candidates looking to qualify for a job such as this would be required to have a bachelors degree in human resource management, industrial/organizational psychology, business, or another related field, a masters degree is preferred. Along with this, the candidate should have at least five years of experience in human resources.
The professional in this position would focus on strategic and operational HR partnership with both internal and external partners, taking innovative global approaches to development and management.
Senior Manager, Human Resources (Corporate HR) for Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick – For this position, a masters degree in human resources, organizational development, organizational behavior, industrial organizational psychology, labor relations, or an MBA is required, with at least five years of professional human resources experience.
This professional would get to partner with Corporate HR specialist groups to support varying teams throughout the organization.
Choosing the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Employers in New Jersey are increasingly looking to hire job candidates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as reported by the New Jersey Department of Labor. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of jobs in the state that require a bachelor’s degree will increase by 8.1 percent, while the number of jobs that require a master’s degree will increase by 8.6 percent.
Because of this, finding and choosing the right degree, along with acquiring a distinctive human resource certification, can play a vital role in preparing to enter the workforce.
Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree
Top employers typically search for job candidates for specialist and lower-level managerial positions that have obtained a bachelor’s degree in human resources, industrial or organizational psychology, businesses, or another related field. There are multiple degree options designed specifically for those looking for a degree in human resources:
- Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business – Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources
A general outline of the different components of each program is outlined here:
Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resources
BS and BA degrees in human resources are well suited for those looking to become generalists and specialists in human resources. These programs introduce students to various aspects of all HR duties:
- Workforce planning and development
- Compensation and benefits
- Employee training
- Employee health and safety
- Human resource management
- Labor law
Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resource Management
This degree focuses on the management aspects of human resources, including:
- Training and development
- Compensation and rewards
- Global human resource management
- Career management
- Corporate governance
- Conflict management
Bachelor of Science in Business – Human Resource Management
This degree is quite literally a business degree with a concentration in human resources. Students will get the benefit of obtaining a full business education, along with specified HR courses. It will include such courses as:
- Business Communications and Critical Thinking
- Management Theory and Practice
- Principles of Accounting
- Business Research
- Finance for Business
- Quantitative Analysis for Businesses
- Fundamentals of HR management
- Change management
- Total compensation
- Employee development
- Human resource risk management
Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources
This degree focuses more on the managerial/administrative aspects of business, rather than accounting and finance, and merges business administration with HR duties. It will generally include such courses as:
- Contract negotiation
- Employee compensation
- Training development
- Organizational theory and behavior
- Managerial accounting
- Employment law
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for generalist positions, as well as specialist roles in the areas of:
- Training Supervisor
- HR Coordinator
Advancing to a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree or specialized MBA with an HRM concentration is appropriate for those seeking promotion to such positions as HR manager, director, supervisor, partner, and analyst.
A master’s degree in industrial organizations, labor relations, organizational development, or business would also be appropriate.
Graduate degrees that focus specifically on human resources include, but are not limited to:
- MA or MS in Human Resources
- MA or MS in Human Resources Development
- MA or MS in Human Resource Management
- MA in Management (MAM) in Human Resources
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources
Along with this, some master’s programs allow for specializations, such as human resources with an industrial relations or change leadership focus.
A list of common courses found a number of different types of graduate programs include:
Master of Science/Arts in Human Resource Management
- Law, Ethics, and Politics in Human Relations
- Change Leadership
- Human Resource Information Systems
- Human Resources Global Contexts
- Business Foundations
- Corporate Communication
- Business Research
Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in HRM
- Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics for Business
- Business Law
- Business Finances
- Managerial Accounting
- Strategic Management
- Information Technology
- Responsible Corporate Leadership
- Strategic HR Management
Human Resources Certifications
Human resources certifications, which can be attained through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) or the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will also contribute to giving HR professionals an edge in the field. Becoming certified is a standard way of proving professional excellence, reflecting positively on both employees and employers.
The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) offers these certifications:
- 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)
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers these certifications:
Resources for New Jersey’s HR Professionals
Staffing firms specialize in the human resource professional’s expertise—recruiting great employees. Along with this, HR associations are networking assets that give HR professionals access to new developments in the field, professional development and training, and connections with other HR professionals.
For these reasons, staffing firms and HR associations in New Jersey are listed as resources here:
- NJ Staffing Alliance – Butler
- Elite Personnel Inc. – Pompton Plains
- Accounting Principals – Paramus
- Joule Inc. – Edison
- New Jersey Human Resource Planning Group
- Human Resources Management Association of Princeton
- Human Resource Association of Southern New Jersey
- Tri-State Human Resource Management Association