Career outlook

The employment and labor relations major provides students with the opportunity to develop the critical skills necessary to analyze the social, political and economic dimensions of employment and workplace issues. Students become familiar with employment and labor law, human resource management, compensation and benefits, and techniques associated with the resolution of conflict in the workplace.

A degree in employment and labor relations

Students earning a degree in history will be prepared to do independent research, think critically, and to write clearly and persuasively. In public history, historians work to help the community to understand the importance the past plays on the present. History is an excellent pre-law major, and student can focus on United States history as they prepare for the joint M.A./J.D.

A number of pre-med students find that a history degree helps in their application to med school by rounding out their profile and helping them to stand out in a sea of applicants. Historians make connections between seemingly disparate pieces of information, and then communicate the importance of their work to others, making them valuable resources to the intelligence community and other career areas that value data collection and analysis.

Students can combine history degrees with additional work in archival management or library and information Science to work in historical archives and libraries. And, of course, a history major can go on in education to share their love of history with others through teaching at the secondary or college level.

Transferable skills

This degree is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking as well as written and verbal communications skills, including:

  • Problem identification, analysis, and solving
  • Conflict resolution and negotiations
  • Career development and planning

Some careers in employment and labor relations

Among several career paths, students may choose to pursue a career as a human resource manager or specialist in the private, public, for non-profit or healthcare sector, including a career as a labor relations specialist. Students may also pursue a career working for a labor organization as a staff specialist or pursue an advanced degree in law or business.

Career Median salary
Human Resources Manager $140,4000
Compensation and Benefits Manager     $111,430
Human Resource Specialist $58,350
Labor Relations Specialist $58,820
Training and Development Manager $102,640

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook

Graduate study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Law
  • Business

Additional information

Students in labor and employment relations often pursue careers in businesses, federal, state, and local governments, and non-profit organizations, such as unions. They work as human resource managers, labor relations managers, human resource and labor relations specialists, and as professional staff for labor and community-based organizations.

Specialists can be found in such areas as recruiting, compensation and benefits, training and development, and talent management.  There are also human resource generalists in the field. Networking is critical to the job search process as is acquiring relevant experience and skills, through work-related activities, including internships.

For more information about careers in labor and employment relations, including human resource management, see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on job outlooks in these areas: Job Outlook for Human Resources Specialist and Job Outlook for Human Resources Managers, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Human Resources Association of Greater Detroit. Also, consider networking in these organizations and the Metro Detroit Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association and the Michigan Public Employer.

For help and more information, contact Career Services at