According to a 2018 presentation from the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the state is looking at the strongest outlook since the Great Recession. The recovery has been broad-based, with business thriving in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, and plenty of high-wage jobs in oil and gas production and mining among other industries. All of those industries rely heavily on HR teams made up of bachelor’s and master’s educated professionals with the skills to evaluate, hire, and administer staff in an industry known for high turnover rates. All this means strong demand for smart and capable HR professionals statewide.
How strong? Well, between 2016 and 2026, the New Mexico Economic Research and Analysis Bureau expects the number of HR jobs in nearly all classifications to grow significantly:
HR Management Roles
- Human Resources Managers: 3 percent increase for an average of 50 openings per year
- Training and Development Managers: 10 percent increase to keep pace with growing demand
Non-managerial HR Roles
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists: 8 percent increase to keep pace with growing demand
- Human Resources Specialists: 9 percent increase for an average of 250 openings per year
- Training and Development Specialists: 8 percent increase for an average of 200 openings per year
- Labor Relations Specialists: 9 percent increase for an average of 20 openings per year
- Human Resources Assistants: 2 percent increase for an average of 100 openings per year
Job growth for key human resources professions is largely a reflection of the strengthening of New Mexico’s economy overall and the state’s optimistic job outlook. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the rate of unemployment has been declining steadily, reaching a new low of below 5 percent as of 2019.
This means that top employers from the state’s major industries are placing a premium on the HR professionals that recruit, hire, train, develop, and manage a growing number of employees. Top employers throughout the state contribute significantly to the strength of New Mexico’s workforce, and by extension, the demand for human resource professionals:
- State of New Mexico – 21,832 employees
- University of New Mexico – 20,042 employees
- New Mexico State University – 12,737 employees
- Central New Mexico Community College – 11,777 employees
- Albuquerque Public Schools – 11,500 employees
- Sandia National Laboratories – 10,560 employees
- Presbyterian Healthcare Services – 9,500 employees
- Los Alamos National Laboratories – 7,949 employees
- White Sands Missile Range – 6,636 employees
- US Postal Service – 5,096 employees
What New Mexico’s Top Employers Look for in a Human Resources Professional
Employers are looking for human resource professionals who can effectively manage recruitment, placement, position classification, workforce planning, personnel reporting, employee training, benefits and more.
Whether in the public or private sector, a bachelor’s degree or higher is considered the base qualification for HR management and specialist positions.
Federal Government Jobs in New Mexico
Being one of the largest employers in the state, the White Sands Missile Range has a large human resources division. Human resource professionals working there manage the military personnel services branch, CAC/ID cards section, the finance branch, the personnel services branch, the strength management branch, the education center, the army substance abuse branch, and the administrative services division.
Federal government job vacancies in New Mexico, at locations such as White Sands, can be found at USAJobs, which lists different HR professional positions:
- Human Resources Assistant
- Human Resources Specialist (Military)
- Human Resources Specialist (HR Development)
- Human Resources Officer (Military)
- Supervisory Human Resources Specialis
Since these positions range from GS-05 to GS-12, job requirements range, as well, and include:
- GS-05: Must have four-year bachelor’s degree
- GS-07: Must have four-year bachelor’s degree with superior academic achievement, OR at least twelve months of experience, education, or training in human resources
- GS-09: Must have master’s degree OR at least twenty-four months of experience, education, or training in human resources
- GS-11: Must have PhD OR three years of post-graduate, higher education
New Mexico State Government Jobs
Jobs listings from these websites illustrate the type of qualifications the state’s government employers are looking for (shown for illustrative purposes only):
Human Resources Training and Labor Specialist: Advanced for the State of New Mexico in Albuquerque – This position requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or public administration, plus two years of experience in HR operations, including recruitment, selection, payroll, compensation, and benefits.
Staff Recruitment Specialist for the UNM Main Campus – This position requires job applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources (or a related field) plus one year of HR experience, including experience posting jobs, sourcing qualified candidates, screening applications, conducting interviews, teaching, and onboarding employees, etc.
HR Administrator for the UNM Main Campus – The applicant for this position should have either a bachelor’s degree plus four years of HR experience, or a master’s degree plus two years of HR experience. A SPHR or PHR certification is preferred.
This professional will manage all HR activities of a branch, ensuring that institutional HR strategies and programs are implemented smoothly.
HR Jobs in New Mexico’s Private Sector
Private businesses will look to hire HR assistants, coordinators, managers, labor relations specialists, training specialists and more (shown for illustrative purposes only):
Recruitment Coordinator for the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque – This position requires that the applicant hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field, plus at least two years of experience in the field.
This professional will be responsible for all patient recruitment and development.
Human Resource Generalist for ACGGDLLC in Albuquerque – This applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree in human resource, business, or a related field, with two years of experience.
The fast-growing railroad and excavation company will require this professional to manage recruiting processes, post job openings, provide employment verifications, and assist in revising policies.
HR Business Partner Manager for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque – This position requires applicants to hold either a bachelor’s degree in human resources (or a related field) with eight years of HR experience, or a master’s degree in human resources (or a related field) with four years of HR experience. PHR, SPHR, or another HR certification is preferred.
This professional will strategically partner all HR divisions throughout the company, including benefits and employee services, leadership and development, corporate learning, talent management, compensation, employee and labor relations, etc.
Getting the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resource
Besides degrees in HR and HRM, other majors relevant to the field include, business administration, industrial relations, industrial organizational relations/psychology, and more.
A bachelor’s degree is the standard for specialist and lower-to-mid-level management positions, while leadership positions in upper management are generally reserved for those with a master’s degree or specialized MBA in human resources management.
These degrees are often offered online, on-campus, or in blended programs.
Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree
Bachelor’s degrees related to the field of human resources include, but are not limited to:
- BA or BS in Human Resources
- BA or BS in Human Resource Management
- BA or BS in Business – Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Human Resources
An undergraduate degree in human resources is likely to cover such key HR concepts as:
- Strategic management
- Workforce planning
- Development and raining
- Compensation and payroll
- Employee relations
- Labor relations
On the other hand, a degree in business with a focus on human resources – like a BBA or BSBA – is likely to cover a blend of business and HR concepts, such as:
- Business Law
- Business Ethics
- Project Management
- Information systems management
- Leadership management
A bachelor’s degree prepares graduates to enter the field in varying roles that include:
- HR Generalist
- Recruitment Coordinator
- Staffing Specialist
Advancing to a Master’s Degree
A graduate-level education delivers a more nuanced understanding of the field for HR management.
Master’s degrees related to the field of human resources may include, but are not limited to:
- MA in Human Resources
- MA in Human Resource Management
- MA in Human Resources and Industrial Relations
- Masters of Management (MAM) in Human Resources
- Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources
An MA in human resources will focus on such key HR concepts as:
- Employee Training
- HR Management Strategy
- HR in Global Contexts
- Leading Change
- Workforce Planning
On the other hand, an MA in human resources and industrial relations will include HR concepts as well as industrial organizational concepts, including courses in:
- Business principles
- Using data and metrics
- Staffing, training, and development
- Organizational theory
- Organizational behavior
- Compensation and benefits
- Labor relations and collective bargaining
Finally, an MBA with a concentration in human resources management will cover higher level business-centric and management concepts, along with HR-specific courses:
- Human capital management
- Organizational leadership
- Business law
- Human resource law
- Organizational training and development
A master’s degree in one of these fields prepares an HR professional for advanced job opportunities, such as:
- HR Business Partner
- HR Administrator
- HR Officer (Military)
Human Resources Certifications
Obtaining national certification proves to employers that the HR professional is dedicated to meeting the standards of excellence in the field. Top certifying bodies and their respective designations 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)
Employers and Resources for New Mexico’s HR Professionals
Staffing firms help to connect employees with employers, and HR associations provide a forum in which professionals can network, learn the newest industry insights, and pursue professional development.
As a resource, a few staffing firms and associations throughout New Mexico are listed here:
- Human Resource Management Association of New Mexico
- Society of Human Resource Management of New Mexico
- Northern New Mexico Human Resource Association
- Southern New Mexico Society for Human Resources
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.
Job growth projections sourced from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions 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 October 2019.