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Human Resource Management Major

What You’ll Learn

Learn to build collaborative and inclusive company cultures, manage policy creation and execution, oversee staff development, and lead critical negotiations.

Topics, skills, and concepts

  • Ensure HR practices are effective and aligned with organizational strategies 
  • Analyze and improve reward and incentives structures
  • Identify methods to attract, evaluate, and retain talent
  • Create and implement policies to promote and leverage a diverse workforce

for human resource management
—EduRank, 2023

Prepare for Your Career in Human Resource Management

average starting salary

Key employers

Colony Brands logoCitadel logoDeloitte logo
Cisco logoThe Walt Disney Co. logoCharles Schwab logo

Knowledge and abilities

  • Recruit, select, train, and conduct performance appraisals
  • Design and implement HR processes
  • Analyze compensation and benefits
  • Create and implement diversity and inclusion practices
  • Negotiate contracts

Common job titles

  • Benefits coordinator
  • Compensation specialist
  • Learning and development coordinator
  • Human resource analyst
  • Human resource business partner
  • Human capital consultant
  • Talent acquisition specialist

Common Career Paths

Human resource (HR) generalists perform various tasks, depending on their level of expertise. They oversee daily operations of the HR office, such as implementing policies, procedures, and programs. They handle tasks such as staffing, orientation, performance, training, benefits, analytics, and organizational development. Some HR generalist roles are assistant, coordinator, generalist, manager, operations specialist, advisor, business partner, or employee relations consultant.

Human resource specialists apply a higher level of technical skill and specialized knowledge to benefit their organization by focusing in a specific area. Areas of specialization vary by industry, geography, and/or organization size; they often include talent management, talent acquisition specialist, total rewards, analytics and information systems, and employee or labor relations.

  • Talent management specialists help organizations retain and develop employees by working with leaders to identify training needs and creating solutions to improve skills. They design and implement programs for performance, skill, leadership, assessment, and succession. Some roles are trainer, training specialist, learning and development specialist, performance management specialist, instructional designer, or facilitator.
  • Talent acquisition specialists find, acquire, assess, and hire candidates for open positions. They do workforce planning and use strategies to recruit, select, and onboard employees, specialists, leaders, or executives. Some roles are: recruiter; staffing coordinator or specialist; recruitment assistant, coordinator, or specialist; talent acquisition consultant or specialist; corporate recruiter; or onboarding specialist.
  • Total rewards specialists develop, implement, and administer compensation and benefits programs, policies, and procedures. They focus on compensation functions, such as job evaluation, survey participation, base salary and incentive plan design, and benefits functions, such as life, health, and disability insurance, wellness programs, and retirement benefits. Some roles are: total rewards coordinator, total rewards specialist, compensation specialist, benefits analyst, or payroll and benefits coordinator.
  • Analytics and information systems specialists implement and maintain human resource information management systems. They work with other experts to ensure data integrity, testing, reporting, analysis, and process improvement. Some roles are payroll coordinator or specialist, human resource analyst (or human resource data analyst), applicant tracking (ATS) coordinator, affirmative action planner, or human capital management (HCM) analyst.

Go Beyond the Classroom

a man and woman sit and talk at a table

Students participate in case competitions, workshops, and mentorship programs to develop their skills and knowledge in real-world settings through the UW–Madison Society for Human Resource Management.

Meet the Human Resource Management Team

Career coach

Use Starfish to make an appointment with your career coach.

Alex Lawver

Alex Lawver

Career coach

Pathway consultant

Tanya Hubanks

Tanya Hubanks

Director, Strategic Human Resource Management Center