How Much Does a Human Resources Generalist Make?

Average HR Generalists Salary, Educational Requirements, and Duties

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The salary of a Human Resources generalist depends on their job duties and responsibilities, the market for generalists in your region, the size of the organizations that employ generalists, and the generalist's organizational structure and organizational hierarchy.

According to the job website payscale.com, as of 2018, a human resources generalist earns an average salary of $51,368 per year. For the first 5–10 years in this position, pay increases modestly, but any additional experience does not have a big effect on pay. People in this job generally don't have more than 20 years experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2016, there were 547,800 HR generalists in the U.S.  The BLS reports a job outlook (for the time period 2016–2026) of 7 percent growth, which falls in the "as fast as average" category.

Factors Affecting Salary 

The salary earned by an HR generalist varies depending on the following factors:

  • Industry
  • The region
  • Size of the company  
  • Private or public sector organization
  • Whether the HR generalist is the sole HR employee or if the generalist reports to a manager or director

The salary earned by an HR generalist also varies by personal factors such as:

  • Degrees earned
  • Credentials obtained
  • Years of experience
  • Longevity in the organization
  • Performance 
  • Certifications
  • Responsibilities and expectations of the job

According to Payscale.com HR generalist jobs in large cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York, command higher salaries and usually, the larger the organization is, the more HR generalist is paid. Regionally, HR generalists make less money in the midwest and south and make more money on the east and west coasts.

Education and Skills Necessary

Usually, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for this job, along with many years of related experience. Many positions prefer a master’s degree. Strong computer skills are necessary, and it is usually essential to be able to be able to use Microsoft Word and Excel proficiently.

Additionally, his job has an abundance of duties that need to be performed, so it is important to be able to multitask and to work well under pressure. Strong teamwork skills are needed for the human resources generalist who works in a large organization who will have to work with upper management and staff members.

Job Description for a Human Resource Generalist 

Human resources generalists are responsible for all aspects of human resources work. Generalists may have duties in all areas of HR including payroll, benefits, compensation, training, recruitment, employee relations, labor relations, organization development, change management, and personnel management.

A Snap Shot of HR Generalist Tasks

  • Acts as liaison between employee and management to answer questions or concerns regarding company policies, practices, and regulations.
  • Process, verify, and maintain documentation relating to HR activities such as staffing, training, and performance evaluations.
  • Guide managers in recruiting and employee relations.
  • Administer employee compensation, training, and benefit programs.

Hierarchy in the HR Department

In some organizations, usually smaller organizations, the HR generalist can be the highest ranking HR employee, but this is not the case in large multi-layered organizations where generalists report to managers, directions, and vice presidents. 

In organizations that have a Human Resources manager to whom the HR generalist reports, the HR generalist is generally responsible for lower level tasks and functions within the areas of HR. The manager or director takes on higher level responsibilities and receives a higher level salary as a result. They are also responsible for the administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs. 

For specific information about the city or area in which you want to work, you should pursue informational interviews with people currently working in HR managerial or generalist roles. Also, talk to local recruiters and members of your local Society for Human Resource (SHRM) chapter.