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The Basics of Working as Labor Relations Managers

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While not the most glamorous positions, labor relations manager jobs are important for many reasons. For starters, you help facilitate the ongoing relationship between the staff and the management of the company. Although your loyalty will be to the management side, you can also do your part to make sure they have the necessary information about the needs of the workers to ensure that smart decisions are made. If you are interested in pursuing these recruiting jobs, below is some information that will either help you make a decision to pursue that career or can help prepare you for your future job.

Overview of Labor Relations Manager Jobs

When holding labor relations manager jobs, you will play an important role in forming the labor policies for your company. In this sense, you are an intermediate between the workers and the management. As part of your responsibilities, you will be associated with the collective bargaining negotiations and you will assist in coordinating grievance procedures. You will also have a role in forging all of the basics of the policies affecting the workers, such as pensions, wages, and benefits.

When labor contracts come up for renewal, those holding labor relations manager jobs will be the ones who do the research and gather the necessary information for management that will be needed for the negotiations. You will also be responsible for interpreting the current labor contracts in terms of worker benefits, the grievance process, health and safety, management practices, and more.

One of the biggest changes related to these labor relations manager jobs is that most no longer work with unions. The number of unions in the United States has been in a steady decline for many years and now most of the work you will be doing will be with non-union workers.

Because of the nature of this work, you can expect periods of intense stress. Working with both management and labor, you may find yourself being torn between the two sides. And that can be challenging. On the bright side, you will probably be working within the human resource management department. You may have to travel some for your job but that is most common for recruiting jobs.

During most of the time, you will probably be working a standard 40 hour week. However, when negotiations and grievances are in process you may also need to work long hours to make sure that the process is completed successfully.

Training for Labor Relations Manager Jobs

Training for these types of recruiting jobs varies a great deal. Because they are classified as human resource positions, much of your training will fall into that category. Most companies hire college graduates to fill these jobs. Having a degree in human resources or a related field can be a good choice but many companies do not require that type of degree. They will consider business-related majors and some will even look for candidates who have a background in liberal arts because they are considered well-rounded and more capable of dealing with a wide variety of people and issues. Regardless of your major, courses in interpersonal relations, communication, psychology, and sociology can be quite useful in giving you the skills you will need to work with management and staff. If you can take courses on leadership, negotiations, labor law, or similar issues, these will also be a tremendous asset.

While many entry-level labor relations manager jobs require only a bachelor's degree, some do demand more advanced degrees, particularly in labor relations. Even if you do not need this degree to get in the door, you may need one for obtaining advancements and pay raises.

Having previous experience working in human resources can also be beneficial. You do not necessarily have to work in labor relations manager jobs but being in a position where you can gain an understanding of the issues you'll be working with on a daily basis can give you a competitive advantage.

In addition to education, you will also need good comprehensive skills. You will need to read and understand contracts and labor law so that you can apply the information accordingly in your work place. Sometimes this language is challenging to decipher so you need to be able to dig through the jargon and find out the real meat of the message.

As far as other personality traits that are useful for labor relations manager jobs, you will need to be able to work well with people and demonstrate strong communication skills. You must have respect for diversity in the workplace.

Job Outlook

Currently, about 214,000 labor relations manager jobs are filled in the United States. That represents just under one-fourth of all human resources positions. The human resources field is going to see general growth that is faster than average. However, some will be growing faster than others. Labor relations manager jobs and recruiting jobs are two of the fastest growing. The former is growing at a rate of 16%; the latter is growing at a rate of 18%. Those rates are anticipated up through 2016.

If you have the education requirements and other interpersonal skills needed, you stand to have a better chance of finding a position. Keep in mind that as the employment situation changes in the United States different parts of the country will have a greater and lesser need for your skills.

Pay Expectations

Generally, the pay for people who hold labor relations manager jobs is fairly lucrative and can be at the high end of the scale for people involved in the human resource division of most companies. The average salary as of 2007 was around $94,000. Remember that figure takes into consideration people from the highest end of the pay spectrum as well. However, even after just entering the field with a bachelor's degree and a background in human resources, you can anticipate salary offers of around $41,000 per year. Remember that your job will also include benefits, such as insurance.
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