With an unemployment rate of just four percent, Wyoming is among the states with the healthiest job markets according to a 2015 report released by the US Department of Labor. According to the Wyoming Office of Labor Market Information (LMI), short-term industry projections indicate that manufacturing, construction, and agriculture are contributing to the strengthening of Wyoming’s workforce and its economy overall. The LMI expects 5000 annual job openings across these industries, which is helping to drive demand for recruiters, hiring managers, training specialists and other human resources professionals in the state’s major metro areas. Overall, the LMI projects a five percent increase in the number of human resources jobs in the state during the ten-year period leading up to 2022.
Job growth in all sectors means a growing number of employees that need to be on-boarded, screened and managed. Human resources personnel are key to handling the processing of incoming employees as they vet, train, and develop an organization’s workforce.
Some of the largest and most complex HR departments are found in government agencies, medical facilities, as well as in the manufacturing, tourism, and energy sectors. The top ten employers in Wyoming are also those with the greatest need for skilled human resources professionals:
- Warren Air force Base- 3,000 employees
- University if Wyoming- 2,800 employees
- Natrona County School District- 2,500 employees
- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center- 1,700 employees
- US Air National Guard- 1,500 employees
- Wyoming Medical Center- 1.400 employees
- Powder River Coal Llc – 1,250 employees
- VA Medical Center Cheyenne – 1,200 employees
- FMC Corp.- 1,000 employees
- Jackson Lake Lodge – 1,000 employees
Exploring Careers in Human Resources in Wyoming
Strong job growth in Wyoming is a good indicator that employers and organizations will continue to hire and develop human resources staff and management.
The general expectation of HR management and specialist staff is to:
- Develop recruitment strategies in order to identify qualified candidates
- Negotiate contracts and salaries, as well as terms and conditions of contract employees
- Check all references and complete company background checks
- Translate strategic and tactical plans into HR plans for the organization
- Stay current on all regulatory and compliance issues
- Recruit and retain a proper level of staff
- Oversee the management of all HR records
- Investigate grievances and oversee and coordinate remediation when necessary
Human Resources Careers in Military and Government
Careers for HR professionals in the government include both civilian and military personnel. Jobs can be found at many agencies and organizations throughout Wyoming. For instance, each city hall, school district and military installation will typically have a fully staffed HR department. In Wyoming, these would include:
- State Auditors Office
- The Livestock Board
- Directors Office of Policy Research and Evaluation
- Veterans Association
- Military Affairs Starbase
- Department of Fish and Game
- County government offices
- State Parks Historic Sites
Human Resources Careers in the Private Sector
Wyoming’s private sector generates most of the jobs for human resources specialists and managers. Job descriptions taken from posted vacancies offer a detailed description of duties and responsibilities (from a May 2015 survey of job boards and shown for illustrative purposes only):
HR Manager, The J.R. Simplot Company, Afton – The HR manager will develop and direct the implementation of plans and programs to effectively use human resources to support the company’s objectives. All duties must be performed within the framework of the organization’s overall policies, plan, programs, and procedures.
HR Specialist, Admiral Beverage Corporation, Worland – The specialist will process payroll, perform related functions and assist with administration of general employee compensation and benefits plans. These benefit plans would include life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, and disability insurance, retirement plans, vacation time, sick leave, and any leaves of absence.
HR Assistant, Snow King Resort Hotel, Jackson Hole – The assistant would function as Assistant to the Director of HR by performing the following duties:
- Provide applicants with a career packet that includes information for employment.
- Type and mail letters to candidates who were not hired as directed by Manager or Director of HR
- Perform basic office administration: office supply inventory, file maintenance, typing, clerical support, and other duties on an as needed basis
- Maintain I-9 information
- Assist in quarterly audits and send out memorandums with required updates
- Create lists of employee anniversaries and employee birthday cards
- Distribute health and safety checklists
- Participate in all other audits
- Handle the afternoon mail runs
Human Resources Administrator, Saratoga Forest Management in Saratoga – The HR Administrator would:
- Administer company policies and procedures for hiring, benefits management, and employee retention
- Maintain files, records and documents
- Prescreen job candidates and schedule interviews and once approved, extend job offers. Handle on-boarding
- Coordinate orientation and safety training
- Update and maintain all HR reports
- Track employee time off and vacations
- Oversee employee issues and coordinate disciplinary procedures
Earning the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Depending on the level of authority a position entails, job candidates may need either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in order to qualify for a career in human resources.
In general, the competencies employers expect from HR specialists and managers include:
- Attention to detail
- Proficiency with numbers
- Identifying quality job candidates
- Maintaining policies and procedures
- Relationship building across all levels of the organization
- Ability to communicate
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Common undergraduate degrees designed to adequately prepare for a career in human resources are structured as Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).
Below are a few of the undergraduate programs available online and through campus-based and blended programs in Wyoming:
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Business Administration Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Labor and Employment Relations
The HR professional will earn a degree comprised of both general education classes as well as core classes in the major. Core courses typically cover subjects like:
- Staff Development
- Training Employees
- Compensation and Contracts
- Labor Law
- Organizational Behavior
- Diversity in the Workplace
- Labor Relations
Master’s Degree Programs
Common graduate degrees in human resources are structured as Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and specialty degrees like the Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM).
Graduate students are typically those that seek senior level management positions.
Below are a few possible graduate degree options available online and through campus-based programs in Wyoming:
- Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
- The Master of Science in Human Resource Management
- Master of Science in Human Resources
- Master of Science in Educational Human Resource Development
- Master of Business Administration in Labor Relations
There are a variety of core courses typically found in a graduate program that will prepare graduate students for senior level positions:
- Conflict resolution
- The law and employment
- Benefits and Compensation
- Budget Metrics
- Strategic Planning
Professional HR Certification
Professional HR certification is something employers sometimes look for in their top job candidates. Each certificate is specific to an area of specialization and has its own requirements.
The certification most often requested include:
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)– For the professional in HR who wishes to show mastery in technical and operational aspects of HR practices, laws and regulations.
- Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)– This exam is for the HR professional who typically works in an operational role.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)– This certificate is for any HR professional at the senior level that primarily operates in a strategic role.
Resources for HR Professionals and Those Aspiring to Enter the Field
There are various training seminars, educational facilities, and other HR resources available in Wyoming to assist HR personnel with professional development. Information is available through government agencies, nonprofits and professional associations.
- State of Wyoming A&I Human Resources Division
- Nonprofit Resource Center- resource and guidance for managing employees
- Wyoming Business Council
Wyoming’s HR Staffing Firms
- Resource Staffing Inc.
- Trillium Staffing Wyoming
- Wyoming at Work
- Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
- Wyoming Elite Staffing