A labor relations manager is someone who helps negotiate the best laborers or workers for a particular job and connects employees to the CEO or personnel manager. They may also handle strikes and complaints against the company. For this reason, they need to be skilled and knowledgeable in law, especially business and labor law, as well as business in general. A manager of labor relations is always communicating with both HR (the human resources department), upper and mid-level management, and employees, to attempt to find the right fit for jobs that require a skilled laborer. They often serve as a mediator for both sides in the event of a dispute or disagreement, or when negotiations are called for from both sides. For this reason, the labor relations manager must be skilled in negotiations and applied psychology, as well as the legal aspects of the labor laws and ethical concerns.
Requirements/QualificationsThe general requirements for an entry-level labor relations manager is a Bachelor’s degree in business, labor relations, or a related field. A Master’s degree is required for the higher level executive positions. Additional coursework in law and/or psychology would also be helpful, since you will be dealing with a variety of human services issues and situations.
The typical education for a labor relations manager is a four-year degree or graduate degree in business or a related field. A strong background in labor laws and work-related ethics is also important.
An Alternate Route
One could work in the field as a labor relations manager with only an associates’ degree, but you would not get as far as a Bachelor’s degree would take you.
Steps to Becoming a Labor Relations Manager
If you think you have what it takes to serve as a labor relations manager, here are a few important steps to take to reach your goals.
1 to 5 years
2) Gain experience in human resources jobs or public administration. Human resources departments are concerned with the smooth running of businesses by helping filter out employee applicants and trying to find the best candidates. This experience, or public administration experience, would prove valuable for a job as a labor relations manager later on.
3) Study conflict-resolution and psychology. Learning how to successfully negotiate differences between parties would prove beneficial in preparing for a career as a labor relations manager.
4) Learn and keep up with labor and wage laws and legislation. Much of what you will do as a labor relations manager is to enforce and share information on the wage and labor laws. You protect managers and CEO’s of companies by letting them know what new legislation is in the works and is being put into practice. It is also essential, since many of the issues you will be dealing with pertain to wage laws for employees.
5) Continue your education to increase your knowledge. It is always good to continue your education beyond the basic degree to increase your knowledge base in the field. Wage and labor laws change fairly often and employees are always petitioning for increases in the minimum wage. There are also other areas that you need to keep up with in order to be the best manager of labor relations to the company you represent, so that you can serve them in the best way possible for the greater good.
A labor relations manager knows the law and how it applies to the work force. They have a strong sense of what works and doesn’t work in employment situations. They know how to find the best fit for the best jobs and place people in positions they will be successful in. They know some basic psychology and can apply it in dealing with people. If this describes you, enroll in an educational program that focuses on this area and go for your dreams. Being a labor relations manager has far reaching results too. You’ll be contributing to the smoother operation of one of the most sticky issues in American politics today-the work force!