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Future of Higher Education

Why It’s a Great Time to Pursue a Career in Human Resources

Last year was unlike any other in recent history. Multiple crises struck at the same time, forcing organizations in every industry and of all sizes to adjust to changing circumstances, almost overnight

Human resource professionals played an integral role in navigating their organizations through a tumultuous 2020. In fact, 87 percent of HR leaders report their work has been especially crucial since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2021 and beyond, they will remain at the helm of the workplace.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO of SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), the world’s largest HR association, shares the benefits of obtaining a degree in HR — either through traditional education or an online degree program — and how to succeed as a workplace leader. 

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP

President and CEO of SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management)

What are the benefits of obtaining a degree in HR? 

First, there is a clear demand for HR professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how HR leaders are integral to keeping workplaces safe, secure, and operational. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 13 percent growth rate in the field, projecting 13,600 new jobs for human resource managers by 2022. 

Non-traditional students, those seeking a career change, and HR professionals looking to polish their skills can benefit from an HR-specific education. Fortunately, we’re seeing workplace policy changes that create opportunities for non-traditional students — such as flexible work-from-home arrangements — enabling them to continue their education while working full time. In addition, many students are choosing online education, which often saves time and money. 

HR certifications are also available online. With just a few years of experience under their belts, HR practitioners can pursue the SHRM-CP credential, which demonstrates strong capabilities in both aspects of HR practice—competency and knowledge, as well as the ability to break down complex HR issues.

What is the key to success? 

Before setting out to obtain a degree, ask yourself: Why HR? Know how and why you want to impact the workplace.

Take advantage of professional groups and student societies — many offer networking opportunities, professional development training, and virtual career fairs. Membership associations like SHRM, for example, help students and emerging leaders launch or advance their careers. These organizations can help identify desirable entry-level opportunities and potential career paths within HR, establish professional networks, and provide mentorship opportunities from experienced professionals.

Online tools and educational opportunities — such as virtual HR events and trainings — can serve up supplementary learning along the way, offering the latest knowledge while also building networks within the HR community. 

HR professionals are critical assets to businesses, helping employers and employees grow and change together. A strong investment in education can help HR leaders and the business community handle a shifting landscape we’ll all navigate together. 

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