While the field of human resources may not be known for making workers rich, you can make a good living in this fulfilling job role. The median wage for business operations specialists, the category that includes non-management HR roles, is $67,120, nearly $30,000 above the median wage for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Management human resources roles offer the highest earning potential, with six-figure median salaries. In most instances, the more specialized the HR role, the higher its earning potential.
Management Roles in HR
At the management level, human resources personnel are responsible for supervising HR employees as well as overseeing HR administrative tasks and administering programs and policies. The highest-paid human resources management roles are compensation manager and benefits manager, specialized roles that focus on overseeing a company’s pay structure or employee benefits programs. The median wage for these roles is $121,010, the BLS reported. Compensation managers and benefits managers who work for insurance carriers and management of companies and enterprises earn the most money, with median wages of $130,420 and $129,000, respectively. Government roles pay the least, with a $102,470 median salary.
The more general human resources manager role far outnumbers its specialized counterparts. The BLS reported that 136,100 Americans currently hold jobs as human resources managers, compared to just 15,800 compensation and benefits managers and 34,500 training and development managers. Human resources managers may have a broader range of job responsibilities, especially if they work in organizations that don’t have dedicated compensation, benefits or training and development personnel. They generally manage HR employees and company programs and functions related to recruiting and retaining workers. The median wage for human resources managers is $113,300. The professional, scientific and technical services industry pays the highest wages, followed by the management of companies and enterprises industry. For training and development managers, who specialize in administering and overseeing employee training programs, the median wage is $111,340, according to the BLS.
Payroll managers, employee relations managers, labor relations directors, staffing managers and recruiting managers are all types of HR manager jobs.
Labor Relations Specialists
It’s no secret that negotiations and relations between employers and employees can become strained, especially when compensation and benefits are on the line or when workers express grievances. Labor relations specialists work as intermediaries between the workforce – especially unionized workforces – and company management. They are responsible for overseeing and administering labor contracts and guiding the collective bargaining process. The median wage for labor relations specialists is $67,790, according to the BLS. Although it makes up just three percent of jobs in the labor relations occupation, the management of companies and enterprises industry pays the highest wages, at a median of $90,640.
Job opportunities for labor relations specialists are on the decline, with the BLS expecting an eight percent decrease in jobs over a decade, due primarily to the decline of labor unions.
Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists
The field of HR includes several different aspects of attracting and retaining talent. Among the most specialized jobs in human resources are those that revolve around pay structure (compensation specialist), employee benefits (benefits specialists) and position classification (job analysis specialists). The BLS reports a $63,000 median wage for these roles.
The degree to which workers in this occupation specialize depends partly on the size of the company. Smaller organizations are more likely to require specialists to work in more than one of these job roles, while larger companies often have separate specialists for each issue.
Training and Development Specialists
For both new recruits and longtime employees, training is crucial to keeping skills up-to-date and company services and products relevant. The human resources personnel who specialize in developing and carrying out employee educations, known as training and development specialists, make a median salary of $60,870, according to the BLS.
The job outlook for training and development specialists is positive, with the BLS expecting a faster than average growth rate of 11 percent.
Human Resources Specialists
For human resources specialists and generalists, the median annual salary is $60,880, the BLS reported. This category includes personnel recruiters as well as HR professionals who handle a variety of different tasks pertaining to a company’s human resources activities.
This less specialized role is the largest in the HR field, accounting for 547,800 jobs in the United States, according to the BLS.