Human resources departments are crucial to the daily operations and long term strategic objectives of any business or organization, responsible for ensuring effective utilization of human capital to maximize productivity and efficiency. Businesses and organizations of all kinds rely on the expertise of HR professionals to acquire, develop, and retain a talented workforce—the most valuable resource within any organization.
Because of the importance of maintaining an effective and efficient workforce, businesses and other organizations are willing to offer top salaries to HR professionals with specialized skills and a track record of proven results.
Salary Data for Human Resources Executives and Non-Executives
The Towers Watson 2013 General Industry Human Resources Compensation Survey revealed that human resources executives with labor relations skills earned an average salary of $311,800 in 2013, an increase of 4.2 percent over the average of $299,100 in 2012.
Although most human resources executives saw increases of between 1 and 4 percent between 2012 and 2013, those with expertise in workplace safety, legal compliance, talent management, and technology saw the largest increases in their annual salary. For example, human resources executives in equal employment opportunity earned an annual salary of $156,300 in 2013, a 15.1 percent increase over the average in 2012. Similarly, human resources executives specializing in safety earned an average salary of $167,100 in 2013, a 13.2 percent increase from 2012.
Non-executive human resources professionals also experienced increases in salaries between 2012 and 2013. For example:
- Human resources generalists and consultants earned an average of $74,700 in 2013, up 3.8 percent from 2012.
- Health and safety human resources professionals earned an average of $73,800 in 2013, up 8.7 percent from 2012.
- Human resources professionals with executive compensation expertise earned an average of $110,700 in 2013, up 6.1 percent from 2012.
Many human resources professionals with expertise in specific industries saw significant increases in their annual salaries (including bonuses and incentives) between 2012 and 2013. The largest increase was among entry-level human resources professionals in medical services organizations, who earned $61,600 on average in 2013, a near-42 percent increase over the average of $43,400 in 2012.
Some of the other human resources specialists that experienced a substantial salary increase during this time included:
- Environmental, health and safety human resources supervisors: $98,000 in 2013, a 21.7 percent increase from 2012
- Technical support senior level human resources professionals in medical services, nursing: $60,400 in 2013, a 20.3 percent increase from 2012
- Professional entry-level human resources professionals in organizational development: $52,600 in 2013, a 20.1 increase from 2012
- Human resources supervisors in recruitment: $75,400 in 2013, a 15.3 percent increase from 2012
- Human resources senior managers, environmental science: $135,400 in 2013, a 12.1 percent increase from 2012
Human Resource Manager Salaries
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that human resources managers earned an average, annual salary of $114,140, as of May 2014. The top 10 percent earned more than $183,590 during the same period.
The top-paying industries for human resources managers by average salary in 2014 were:
- Other information services: $166,250
- Securities and commodity contracts, intermediation, and brokerage: $163,110
- Motion picture and video industries: $153,910
- Cable and other subscription programming: $150,330
- Other financial investment activities: $148,390
As of May 2014, the top-paying states for human resources managers by average salary were:
- New Jersey: $144,280
- District of Columbia: $140,070
- Delaware: $136,250
- New York: $135,370
- Colorado: $133,740
The top-paying metropolitan areas for human resource managers by average salary were:
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: $161,640
- Edison-New Brunswick, New Jersey: $151,580
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $151,050
- Newark-Union, New Jersey-Pennsylvania: $150,820
- San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California; $150,730
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut: $150,020
Human Resources Specialist Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that human resources specialists earned an average salary of $62,590 as of May 2014, with the top 10 percent earning more than $98,130 on average.
The BLS reported that the top-paying industries for human resources specialists according to average salary were:
- Pipeline transportation of crude oil: $108,300
- Software publishers: $88,180
- Securities and commodity contracts, intermediation, and brokerage: $84,600
- Oil and gas extraction: $84,310
- Other information services: $83,070
The top-paying states for human resources specialists, as of May 2014, were:
- District of Columbia: $88,540
- Maryland: $72,040
- California: $71,260
- New York: $69,840
- Virginia: $69,830
The top-paying metropolitan areas for human resources specialists, by average, annual salary, were:
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: $88,120
- San Francisco-San Manteo-Redwood City, California: $86,110
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $83,440
- Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Maryland: $77,650
- Columbus, Indiana: $75,820
Labor Relations Specialist Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), labor relations specialists earned an average salary of $59,410 as of May 2014. The top 10 percent earned more than $107,780 during the same period.
The BLS revealed the top-paying industries for labor relations specialists according to average salary:
- Other professional, scientific, and technical services: $132,170
- Natural gas distribution: $100,850
- Aerospace product and parts manufacturing: $93,680
- Software publishers: $93,420
- Motor vehicle parts manufacturing: $92,420
Labor relations specialists earned the highest annual salaries in the following states:
- Alaska: $86,220
- California: $78,090
- New York: $75,720
- Texas: $75,390
- District of Columbia: $75,130
Human Resources Assistant Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that human resources assistants earned an average, annual salary of $38,980 as of May 2014, with the top 10 percent earning more than $54,960.
The top–paying industries for human resources assistants according to average salary were:
- Metal ore mining: $53,570
- Wired telecommunications carriers: $50,310
- Office furniture manufacturing: $49,700
- Natural gas distribution: $49,040
- Communications equipment manufacturing: $48,650
Human resources assistants earned the highest average, annual salaries in the following states as of May 2014:
- Massachusetts: $46,880
- District of Columbia: $45,890
- Alaska: $45,030
- Connecticut: $44,100
- California: $43,540