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 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national annual salary for a human resources manager is $102,780. 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions that scientific and technical consulting firms offer the highest 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 $183,590, while HR specialists and recruiters earned a median salary of $57,420, and compensation and benefits managers earned a median salary of $108,070.

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 2024:

  • Human Resources Managers — 9 percent, a little faster than average
  • Human Resources Specialists — 5 percent, slower than average
  • Training and Development Managers — 7 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 that the following industries employed the largest number of human resources managers:

  • Companies and Enterprises — 18,200
  • Local Government — 7,790
  • Hospitals — 4,510
  • Employment Services — 4,390
  • Computer Systems Design — 3,470

HR Salaries by Employer Type

Here are the top-paying industries for human resources managers (median annual salaries):
  • Information Services — $166,250
  • Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation
    and Brokerage — $163,110
  • Motion Picture and Video — $153,910
  • Cable and Other Subscription Programming — $150,330
  • Financial Investment Activities — $148,390

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 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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