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Human Resources Career and Salary Outlook in Michigan

In terms of economic growth and wealth, Michigan is ranked 18th in the United States. This is due to the once-again booming economy, which has bounced back tremendously since the auto industry had its huge slump. Michigan’s economy has grown faster than the rest of the nation since 2016. Also helping the state’s economy is that Michigan is home to 12 billionaires. With this huge growth comes a need for human resources professionals to help recruit and train new employees for the state’s many industries.


Human resources (HR) professionals, whether they’re human resources managers or human resources specialists, are found in almost any industry. The number of HR professionals employed at a company generally has to do with the size of the company. HR professionals play an important role in a company because they’re the department in charge of recruiting, hiring and training employees. They also collaborate with other department managers to determine how to best utilize an employee based on his or her talents. Other duties of an HR professional include:

  • Creating and setting up employee benefit packages
  • Handling and dispersing payroll
  • Hiring, training and terminating employees
  • Overseeing staff members
  • Dealing with employee matters and disciplinary issues
  • Developing and supervising training programs
  • Approving promotions and compensation

Human Resources Salary Information for Michigan

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that human resources managers earned average annual wages of $113,650 as of May 2017. Those in the lowest 10% earned $63,290 while the top 90% earned $180,420. Human resources specialists earned average wages of $62,160 with the lowest 10% earning $35,170 and the top 90% earning $96,140.

Wages for human resources managers in Michigan can vary from city to city and also vary with different factors like years of experience, education, employer and even certifications. Here are some average HR manager wages in different cities in Michigan according to a September 2018 report.

  • Applegate – $92,779
  • Bay City – $93,531
  • Bloomindale – $96,814
  • Mason – $98,626
  • Linden – $99,964
  • Jackson – $100,895
  • Tecumseh – $102,059
  • Southfield – $103,108
  • Highland – $103,740
  • Saline – 105,845

Education Requirements

Human resources managers should have at least a bachelor’s degree, although some may earn master’s degrees if they are pursuing higher-level positions. Some employers may also prefer their HR managers have master’s degrees. The major may be in human resources, labor relations, business administration, finance or a similar field. Students may take courses in statistics, labor management, information technology, employee development, employment law, accounting and compensation.

In addition to earning a degree, HR managers are required to have several years of relevant work experience prior to applying for an HR management position. Many candidates start as HR specialists or HR assistants, obtain some HR work experience and then either advance their education or work up to the job. Students often find internships quite valuable as well.

Bachelor’s in Human Resources

Human resources specialists should also have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field. Candidates may be hired as HR specialists with an associate degree if they possess relevant work experience. Some may obtain work experience working in an HR department or as a customer service representative. Coursework for HR specialists’ students includes resource management, psychology, industrial relations, business, accounting, professional writing and communications.


Many HR professionals choose to obtain as many certifications as possible. Certification is generally not required but is often preferred by employers. It’s also a way to demonstrate expertise, knowledge and commitment to the field. Various certifications are offered through agencies like HR Certification Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and WorldatWork.

To earn the certifications, the candidate must meet the educational requirements, work requirements and pass a certification exam. Certification can be maintained by completing continuing education courses. HR professionals spend a great deal of time communicating and negotiating with employees, so they should possess good communication and interpersonal skills.

Job Prospects for This State

The BLS reports that there are 3,980 human resources managers and 15,140 human resources specialists were employed in Michigan as of 2017. They predict an employment growth of 8.8% for HR managers and 7.3% for HR specialists. This positive growth should result in about 350 new HR manager jobs and 1,100 new HR specialist jobs created by 2026.

In a recent ranking of Michigan’s Hot 50 list of the most in-demand, high-wage careers through 2026, human resources, training, and labor relations specialists are at the top of the list. If the economic growth in Michigan continues to boom as it has in recent years, HR professionals will continue to be very much in demand. The highest number of HR professionals (both HR managers and HR specialists) employed in Michigan were in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI areas and the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI metropolitan areas.

Largest Employers of HR Professionals for Michigan

Detroit has earned the nickname of “Motor City” because it’s home to two of the largest automobile manufacturers: General Motors and Ford Motor Company. While the automotive industry does make up a lot of the workforce in Michigan, there are several other industries that also help their growing economy while also providing work for the numerous HR professionals needed. Here are some of the largest employers in Michigan.

  • General Motors – 225,000 employees
  • Ford Motor – 201,000 employees
  • Enstrom Helicopter – 174,110 employees
  • Lear – 148,400 employees
  • Whirlpool – 93,000 employees
  • Meijer- 58,976 employees
  • Dow – 55,000 employees
  • Kellogg – 37,369 employees
  • Beaumont Health – 35,000 employees

HR Associations for Michigan

Human resources professionals can grow in their industry by attending seminars and workshops, obtaining certifications and completing continuing education courses to maintain certification. Additionally, HR professionals can join associations designed specifically for HR professionals. Membership in these associations allows members to network with other HR professionals, share experiences, learn about new HR trends and job opportunities in the business.

  • Michigan Council of the Society of Human Resource Management
  • Human Resource Association of Southeast Michigan
  • Greater Southeast Michigan Society for Human Resource Management
  • Greater Ann Arbor Society of Human Resource Management
  • Human Resources Group of West Michigan
  • Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association