HR Manager Salary featured image

2020 HR Manager Salary Guide

If you’re in HR, you might have spent some time tracking down salary information for some common HR positions, such as an HR manager salary. So if you’re still wondering, what is the average salary of an HR manager, you’re in the right spot.

To give you a better answer than “it depends”, we’ve broken down the average human resources salary by position and discussed factors that can affect an HR manager’s salary.

Whether you are a current HR manager looking for an upgrade, just getting into HR management, or hiring a new HR manager, this guide will have useful information so you can make your decision. Like most job markets nowadays, HR management is competitive, so it’s a job-seekers market. Take advantage!

What Does an HR Manager Do?

HR managers can have many responsibilities. One single HR manager’s role can include recruiting, benefits and payroll, performance management, onboarding, employee retention, and more. Usually, HR managers have one or a couple of specific focuses.

Larger companies with multiple HR managers will employ individuals with different specializations to ensure all areas are covered, while HR managers at smaller companies are likely to wear more hats.  

There are numerous human resources job titles that have roles related to that of an HR manager. Some of these roles are covered below in our human resources management salary information section.

HR Manager Salary Information

The HR manager salary information and average human resources salaries include data from Indeed for the USA, Canada, and the UK. Some source data was listed as an hourly wage rather than yearly average HR salaries.

The hourly wage data appears mostly for junior positions that may be paid hourly, rather than salaried positions. However, there are a few anomalies where more senior positions are listed as hourly.  

HR Manager Salary

This HR manager salary average covers several specializations, as well as different seniority levels. Of course, more junior HR managers will be making less, and more senior HR managers can expect higher.

The human resources manager’s salary below is highest in the USA, while the salaries in the UK and Canada are very close to one another. This is likely due to the higher population and higher demand for HR managers in the USA.

HR Manager Salary Graphic

HR Generalist Salary

HR generalists tend to have less seniority than HR managers while being involved in many different facets of HR. A human resources generalist salary reflects this, with salaries in the USA, Canada, and the UK averaging lower than the HR manager salary.

Generalists directly support HR managers and HR managers often delegate work to them. The human resource generalist salary information below follows the trend of the USA has a higher population and a higher demand for HR professionals.

HR Generalist Salary Graphic

Entry Level HR Salary

Entry-level HR positions are associated with job titles such as HR intern. The data below reflects salaries for HR interns. In Canada and the USA, this position is often paid hourly, so the information below is noted as an hourly wage.

The averages for the USA and Canada are higher than the UK, which could be explained by the fact that the data for the UK is listed as a yearly salary. This may not factor in the benefits associated with salaried positions, making it seem lower than the USA and Canada.

Salary-Entry Level HR Salary Graphic

HR Coordinator Salary

HR Coordinators are more junior in position. They may be involved in responsibilities such as benefits, payroll, or internal communications rather than larger HR strategy and management.

The human resources coordinator salary information reflects this. The pay is close in all three countries, which shows a similar role definition and seniority level.

HR Coordinator Salary Graphic

HR Assistant Salary

HR assistants have a similar role to that of an HR coordinator. They may be an assistant to a specific HR manager, or they may be an assistant to the department at large, taking on smaller tasks as needed.

The human resources assistant salary is listed as an hourly wage in the USA and Canada, as this is another position that may not be salaried. The USA has the highest human resource assistant salary, with the UK and Canada close behind.

HR Assistant Salary Graphic

HR Associate

HR associates have a similar role to that of HR assistants and HR coordinators. Some companies may consider an HR associate as slightly more senior to coordinators or assistants, but the role is largely the same.

The salaries for each role are in the same neighborhood in the USA, Canada, and the UK. This is true of the HR associate salary as well, as the salaries listed are very close.

HR Associate Salary Graphic

HR Specialist Salary

HR specialists are senior to HR assistants, coordinators, and associates, and they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as payroll or onboarding.

The average human resources specialist salary data is consistent with this. Depending on the specialization and the number of years of experience, specialists may also expect to make more than this. The USA has the highest salary for this role, with Canada and the UK closer to each other.

HR Specialist Salary Graphic

Benefits Specialist Salary

As predicted by the title, benefits specialists focus on employee benefits. Their role may include ensuring employees are enrolled for benefits, as well as ensuring benefits packages meet employee needs.

The USA and UK salaries are almost on par with each other. Canada is lagging behind, which could be due to its lower population and lower overall demand. It’s also possible that it’s more common in Canada for the benefits specialist role to be rolled into another HR position or specialization.

Benefits Specialist Salary Graphic

HR Recruiter Salary

HR recruiters are primarily focused on attracting talent. If a company decides to outsource recruiting, recruiters assist with the switch to recruitment process outsourcing.

As this role requires a higher level of specialization, the salaries are also higher. The USA again leads the pack, with Canada and the UK close to each other. There is a higher demand for recruiters with the higher population in the USA, as well as more work for recruiters as there are more hires, which contributes to a higher average.

HR Recruiter Salary Graphic

HR Administrator Salary

An HR administrator oversees all administrative tasks and delegates to other HR roles, such as specialists or assistants. However, in some organizations, HR administrators may be more junior and work underneath managers. This could explain the large gap between HR administrator salaries in Canada and the other two countries. Canada may have more senior administrators, whereas the UK and the USA may have more junior administrators, dragging down the average in those countries.

HR Administrator Salary Graphic
HR

HR Supervisor

HR supervisors may oversee an HR specialization or the department as a whole. As with an HR manager salary, HR supervisor salaries vary according to specialization and seniority.

The USA has the highest salary, and the UK has the lowest by far, with Canada in between. One potential reason for the low UK salary could be a difference in role definition between the UK and North America. HR supervisors in the UK may be less specialized or at a lower seniority level.

HR Supervisor Salary Graphic

HR Advisor

An HR advisor might be a full-time salaried employee or a contractor hired to assist with or advise on HR processes. As they are usually brought in as expert consultants, advisors tend to have more experience and seniority, which translates to a higher salary.

This position also has wide gaps in salary between each country. The USA has the highest salary, and the UK again has the lowest. This could be explained by a less specialized role definition or lower seniority as compared to Canada and the USA.

HR Advisor Salary Graphic

HR Director Salary

The HR director is one of the most senior positions in HR. The director of human resources provides higher-level strategy and planning for the entire department and for items such as workforce planning, onboarding, and training processes. With high-level responsibilities and more seniority comes a higher salary than a typical HR manager salary.

The USA and the UK have comparable salaries, while Canada lags behind significantly. This could be due to more HR directors working under the VPs of HR in Canada, which would mean less seniority.

HR Director Salary Graphic

Vice President of HR

Vice Presidents of HR are another senior position for HR professionals. Vice Presidents take care of strategy and planning, often delegating implementation to HR directors or managers. Their goal is to create a strategic human resources management plan and streamline operations.

The USA has the highest salary, with the UK not far behind. Canada lags in this role, with a rate only slightly higher than the HR director. This could be due to not much of a seniority difference between VP and director in Canada.

VP for HR Salary Graphic

Factors Affecting HR Manager Salary

Within the averages listed above, there is a lot of variation. There isn’t one HR manager salary that is applicable to every HR position globally. There are several factors that can affect an individual HR manager’s salary, including location, skills and experience, specialization, and certifications.

Location

One of the main factors affecting the HR manager’s salary is location. A major trend in the data above is higher salaries in the USA than Canada or the UK. This trend continues within the USA. Cities with larger populations tend to have higher demand and higher salaries. The three cities in the USA with the highest HR manager salary, according to one source, are New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Not only do these cities have larger populations than others in the USA, but they also have more companies. This means higher demand for HR managers in these cities than the rest of the USA.

Skills and Experience

While having a larger skillset is a plus for any position, there are specific human resources skills that are highly valued for HR managers. These include communication skills, knowledge of HRIS, and coaching and training skills. It’s also important for HR managers to have the soft skills that most job descriptions look for. These include adaptability, teamwork, and accountability.

Specialization

If an HR manager has a specialization in a specific area such as recruiting, onboarding, or admin, this will translate to a boost in salary. Another part of specialization that helps boost an individual’s HR manager salary is whether they have the ability to train others in their specialization. For example, if an HR manager has a specialization in recruitment and can train other individuals within their company on recruiting, this makes them more valuable and can lead to a salary increase.

Certifications

A fourth factor that can affect an individual’s HR manager salary is whether they have any certifications. There are a few ways to become certified as an HR manager. Many schools and colleges offer programs and diplomas in HR management. There are also many accredited institutions that offer shorter certificate programs, as well as many HR organizations that offer their own certification programs, such as those offered by the Society for Human Resource Management or the HRCP. Having a certification will help with a modest increase in salary.

HR Manager Salary Outlook

There’s nothing to suggest that the HR manager salary data will trend downward anytime soon. In many high population locations, they will continue to rise as companies grow big enough to have a need for one or more HR managers. Whether you are thinking of moving to a new HR position, just starting out in HR, or hiring a new HR manager, consult the HR manager salary data above before deciding. For more expert advice and opinions in the HR world, don’t forget to subscribe to the People Managing People newsletter or check out the latest podcast episodes.

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