The current business landscape is characterized by rapid changes, global competition and a growing emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism. One major hurdle for companies is to create a harmonious workforce that combines the right blend of talent and experience.

In the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UW-Parkside) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Human Resources program, you will acquire the skills to strategically collaborate with managers and employees at all levels across organizations of varying sizes. This partnership will enable you to address corporate challenges and accomplish business objectives.

UW-Parkside’s online MBA in Human Resources program is designed to be flexible and well rounded, preparing you for diverse HR positions in the public and private sectors. You can customize your degree based on your interests through a selection of elective courses.

If you aspire to explore the dynamic roles in HR that involve executive and management responsibilities, the following roles will give you insight into the expanse of options. While there are numerous roles to consider in the long run, this article highlights the most widely available positions, their income potential and the corresponding levels of responsibility associated with each career option. The salaries included below are from June 2023, but actual salaries will depend on location, company, experience and more.

Human Resources Manager

This role aligns HR with strategic organizational goals, oversees the management of the workforce and implements policies and practices that promote employee well-being, productivity and organizational success. An HR manager or director serves as a bridge between management and employees, ensuring that the human capital aligns with the company’s objectives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HR managers earn a median annual salary of $126,230. Responsibilities for the role fall into the following disciplines:

  • Recruitment and talent acquisition: Develop and implement recruitment strategies, conduct interviews and facilitate the selection process to hire qualified candidates.
  • Employee relations: Handle conflicts, grievances and disciplinary actions to maintain a harmonious work environment and ensure fair treatment.
  • Performance management: Set performance goals, conduct evaluations and provide feedback and coaching to enhance employee performance and development.
  • Training and development: Identify training needs and design and coordinate training programs to improve employee skills and knowledge.

Recruitment and Staffing Manager

This critical position in an HR department focuses on attracting and selecting qualified candidates to meet the company’s staffing needs. The role oversees the entire recruitment process, from identifying job requirements to onboarding new hires. With a strategic approach, the recruitment and staffing manager ensures the organization has a talented and diverse workforce that aligns with its goals. According to, recruitment and staffing managers earn an average annual salary of $123,743. Their responsibilities include:

  • Workforce planning: Collaborate with hiring managers to understand staffing needs and develop comprehensive workforce plans, including forecasting future talent requirements.
  • Recruitment strategy: Develop effective recruitment strategies — including sourcing channels, job postings and advertising campaigns — to attract a pool of qualified candidates.
  • Candidate screening and selection: Review resumes, conduct interviews and evaluate candidates’ qualifications to identify the most suitable candidates for specific roles.
  • Employer branding: Enhance the employer brand by promoting its culture, values and unique selling points to attract top talent and establish the organization as an employer of choice.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

This role manages and administers compensation and benefits programs and designs and implements compensation structures and comprehensive benefits packages that attract, motivate and retain employees. By ensuring equitable and competitive compensation practices, this position contributes to the organization’s ability to attract and retain top talent. The BLS reports that compensation and benefits managers earn a median annual salary of $127,530. Here are some responsibilities of the role:

  • Compensation analysis: Conduct comprehensive analysis of market trends, salary benchmarks and internal data to develop and maintain competitive compensation structures.
  • Benefits administration: Oversee the administration of employee benefits programs, such as health insurance, retirement plans, leave policies and wellness initiatives.
  • Performance-based pay: Develop and implement performance-based pay systems, including merit increases, bonuses and incentive programs.
  • Compliance and reporting: Ensure compliance with relevant labor laws and regulations regarding compensation and benefits.

Training and Development Manager

This position is responsible for developing a culture of continuous learning and professional development within an organization. This professional designs and implements programs that enhance employee skills, knowledge and performance. According to the BLS, training and development managers earn a median annual salary of $120,130. Here are a few specific responsibilities:

  • Needs assessment: Identify skill gaps and training requirements within the organization and determine specific learning objectives and performance improvement goals.
  • Program design: Develop curriculum, instructional materials and delivery methods, utilizing techniques such as classroom training, e-learning, workshops and on-the-job training.
  • Delivery and facilitation: Ensure effective knowledge transfer and skill development. Engage participants through interactive activities, discussions and practical exercises.
  • Evaluation and measurement: Develop evaluation frameworks and methods to assess the effectiveness of training programs and make necessary improvements.

Employee Relations Manager

This position promotes positive relationships between employees and the organization, ensuring fair treatment and fostering a harmonious work environment. By addressing employee concerns and encouraging open communication, the position contributes to employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall organizational success. ZipRecruiter shows that employee relations managers earn an average annual salary of $94,797, with some earning over $155,000. Here are some responsibilities associated with the role:

  • Conflict resolution: Mediate and resolve conflicts between employees, departments or management, promoting effective communication and collaborative solutions.
  • Employee grievances: Manage the grievance process including investigating employee complaints, facilitating discussions and taking appropriate actions to address issues.
  • Policy development and compliance: Develop and update HR policies and procedures, ensuring they comply with labor laws and regulations and communicate policies to employees.
  • Employee relations consultation: Guide managers and employees on employee relations matters, including performance management and disciplinary actions.

Well-educated HR professionals have many rewarding leadership career paths, which can take them to HR departments in virtually any industry. For those who choose this field, a specialized master’s degree in HR provides a strong educational platform to support a successful management career.

Learn more about UW-Parkside’s online MBA in Human Resources program.