Labor Relations Specialist
How to Become a

Labor Relations Specialist

The complete career guide to be a Labor Relations Specialist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $60,930
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -7.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute
  • Investigative
    Career Attribute

A labor relations specialist is part of human resources at a government agency or a unionized organisation. He or she is in charge of investigating and resolving any disputes that arise between employees and their managers, and improving the workplace in general.

Recommended Schools

What is a Labor Relations Specialist?


The labor relations specialist performs a number of essential duties including:

  • Developing and implementing positive professional relationships with others like union representatives, business partners and fellow human resources colleagues to deliver on strategic planning.
  • Act as a guide to senior management at the organisation, to ensure that company protocols related to personnel and state labor requirements are being upheld in a consistent manner.
  • Provide recommendations for further enhancing and improving the effectiveness of human resources policies in keeping with longstanding management principles, federal and state laws.
  • Undertake investigations of employee related problems, complaints and incidents for the purpose of determining the right course of action, including those highlighted by staff or in response to external agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Plan and execute workplace training to develop managerial skills among senior staff to equip them with ways to address challenges like a hostile working conditions or workplace conflict.

Day In The Life

A labor relations specialist spends his or her time in an office environment working on paperwork related to human resources. The primary responsibility of this role is to function as a representative for employees and solve any disputes or grievances that arise between the management and workers. A significant part of the day at the office is spent on telephone conversations with various executives, on discussing personnel policies, new or existing union contracts, histories, employee welfare, and salaries or wages. Face-to-face meetings are not as frequent as discussions over the phone.

In this role, you must act as a mediator between the two parties to bridge any miscommunication with the aim of diffusing the situation of conflict. Sometimes, you will contribute to other work such as supporting managers to decide on acceptable payroll rates and benefits, or negotiating with external audiences to avoid litigation. For this purpose, you must have a deep understanding of current research in topics such as competitive benefits, work policies and collective bargaining contracts.

Work Schedule

While the majority of labor relations specialists work full-time for up to 40 hours in a standard office setting, some aspiring candidates can find part-time contracting jobs outside the human resources department. Freelance and consulting positions such as the latter, allow for more opportunities to travel to diverse company HR divisions or specialized firms.

Growth Of The Job

The job outlook in the industry of employment services is very positive, and is set to create more than 90,000 jobs by the year 2020. Many aspiring HR professionals can seek employment as labor relations specialists or try their hand at related careers such as human resources developers, people services specialists, human resources developers or compensation and benefits analysts.

Typical Employers

Labor relations specialists are in high demand in professional organizations across the country. They are no longer exclusive to organizations that have strong labor unions. Employers now include insurance benefit companies, employment placement agencies, hospitals, management departments at private companies, employer organizations and government authorities like the state or federal government.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Labor Relations Specialist

To become a successful labor relations specialist, you must at the very least obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like human resources, labour law and employment relations. You can find such a degree program at certain universities while online courses from home are an easier alternative. Through the course of the program, you would study aspects of business administration, negotiation, industrial relations and labor laws to eventually gain expertise in the principles of human resources. Some employers may accept additional certification in human resources, especially if your college degree was not in a related area of study. Further, you should cultivate a solid grasp of employment laws such as the National Labor Resolutions Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

It is important to note that competitive entry-level roles will start off fairly simple, requiring library research, statistical analysis, and more administrative duties.To get a jumpstart in your career, make sure to develop personal qualities like strong communication, as well as confident decision-making and problem-solving skills. The nature of the role also requires you to be tech savvy with regard to operating computer software like Microsoft Office to maintain virtual databases.

Labor Relations Specialist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Labor Relations Specialist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Labor Relations Specialist's can make an average annual salary of $60,930, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $26,470 or $13 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #258 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Labor Relations Specialists

  • 2.3%   Doctorate
  • 15.5%   Masters
  • 42.6%   Bachelors
  • 8.6%   Associates
  • 19.9%   College
  • 10.1%   High School
  • 0.9%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Labor Relations Specialist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -6,500 jobs for a total of 75,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -7.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #728 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Labor Relations Specialists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Labor unions and similar labor organizations 62,000 -6,400 -6%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 1,800 -100 0%
Self-employed workers 1,800 200 0%

Want To Be a Labor Relations Specialist? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →