Human Resources Salary and Job Outlook

Find out what you could earn as an HR generalist, specialist, manager or recruiter.

Median Annual Salary

human resources salary discussion

According to the 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national annual salary for a human resources manager is $99,720. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Human resources salary ranges and jobs vary significantly, because they cut across a wide range of businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics names scientific and technical consulting firms as having the highest paying human resources salaries. According to HR Magazine, the highest paying career specialties include labor relations and organizational development.

What's my earning potential?

The BLS reports that the top 10 percent of those in human resources management earned more than $173,140, while HR specialists earned more than $95,380 and compensation and benefits managers earned over $172,450.

How do HR salaries compare?

Let's take a look at some of the median annual salaries for the top HR career fields:

Human Resources Career Median Annual Salary*
Human Resources Generalist II $60,294
Human Resources Specialist $55,640
Recruiter II $56,808
Human Resources Manager $99,720

Sources:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition; Human Resources SpecialistsHuman Resources Managers;, January 2014; Human Resources Generalist; Recruiter II. 

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there demand for this career?

Demand for human resources professionals is, on average, higher than the national job growth average for all other professions. The BLS reports that HR jobs opportunities should be best in the management of companies and enterprises.

Take a look at the job growth projections predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics through 2022:

  • Human Resources Managers—13 percent, as fast as average
  • Human Resources Specialists—8 percent, slower than average
  • Training and Development Managers—11 percent, as fast as average

How much competition will I face for a job?

You’ll need at least a bachelor's degree to gain entry into the field, but those who pursue a master’s in human resources or labor relations will have a competitive edge when seeking employment. Learn about the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) software in advance to show employers you have knowledge of industry tools. The HRIS is a complete solution for the data entry, data tracking, and data information needs of the HR, payroll, management and accounting functions within a business.

What kinds of companies hire HR professionals?

The BLS reports the following industries employed the largest number of human resources specialists and managers:

  • Employment services industries—15 percent
  • Government industries and agencies—12 percent
  • Companies—14 percent
  • Professional, scientific and technical services industries—10 percent
  • Health care—10 percent

HR Salaries by Employer Type

Human Resources Managers median annual salaries:
  • Government agencies—$92,020
  • Companies—$112,550
  • Manufacturing—$97,930
  • Health care and social assistance—$85,870 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook

How do I advance in my human resources career?

Get certified! The Society for Human Resource Management offers a variety of certification programs and many employers prefer to hire those who have earned a credential. In fact, some jobs may require certification. Stay abreast of changes in federal, state and local employment laws and updates in compensation and benefit plans and make sure you are familiar with a variety of HRIS software packages.

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