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Bryant & Stratton College Blog Staff

HR Careers: An Introduction to Professional Employer Organizations

If you’ve recently graduated with a human resources degree, or are planning to go into the field, you’re probably wondering what your employment options will be. The downturn in the economy means that there are less corporate HR positions available. However, the employment services industry is on the rise, and starting your career at a professional employer organization (PEO) may be the best way for you to start gaining valuable experience in HR.  PEO careers provide a variety of HR roles and responsibilities to choose from.                               

What PEOs Do

A PEO firm provides service in employee management tasks, risk management, and training and development. Many smaller businesses choose to outsource these services to a PEO, as it is more affordable and allows them to be sure that important tasks, like payroll and benefits, are being managed properly.

A PEO does this through a process called co-employment, in which they hire the client company’s employees (making the PEO the listed employer for insurance and tax purposes), and charge the company a fee for providing employee management services. In some cases, this is also called an employee leasing service in that they are basically leasing the employees back to the company.  

Projected Growth for PEOs

As more companies decide to outsource these services to PEOs, the industry continues to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, the employment services industry, which includes professional employer organizations, is expected to increase at an annual rate of 1.2 percent, resulting in a total of 3.8 million jobs in 2024. The industry is among those with the largest projected employment growth in the country.

Variety of Opportunities for Experience

Because companies outsource all of their employee management services to PEOs, most HR disciplines are represented within a single PEO company. If there is a particular area of HR that you are interested in, it’s likely that you would be able to gain experience in that discipline while working for a PEO. Generally, job roles within a PEO firm include:

  • Human Resource Consulting – serves as the main contact to the client, and helps them with day-to-day advisement.
  • Benefits Management – responsible for developing and implementing overall health and welfare strategy.
  • Benefits Administration – handles day-to-day health and welfare enrollment issues for employees.
  • Risk Management – provides safety services and training to the client.
  • Payroll/ Payroll Tax – handles payment and tax services for employees.

If you are starting your college career, or are considering returning to school in order to make a career change, why not consider doing so online? Bryant & Stratton College offers a variety of online degree programs. For more information, call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative or click here to find out more about our human resources degree.


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