How Much Money Does an HR Manager Make?

Factors That Affect the Overall Compensation of an human resources manager

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Would you like to know how much money a human resources (HR) manager earns? It's an important question if you're considering a career in the field of HR. The question is also important if you want to compare what you are currently making as an HR manager with the salaries of others in your field. You can use this information as a benchmark when you negotiate salary and other compensation with your employer.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for human resources managers was $113,300 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $66,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $201,380.

During that time, the median annual wages for HR managers in the top industries in which they worked were:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services: $127,690
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $126,420
  • Manufacturing: $111,030
  • Government: $101,170
  • Healthcare and social assistance: $97,620

An HR manager may negotiate for an even higher salary, especially if their responsibilities encompass the entire HR function plus other responsibilities that may include administration, customer-facing teams, safety, and employee-related finances.

Factors Affecting an HR Manager's Pay

The salary earned by an HR manager varies from person to person based on factors like:

  • Industry (see above specifics)
  • Region
  • Company size
  • Private or public sector employment
  • The size of the city in which the job is located
  • Market pay ranges based on the number of available jobs
  • Market pay ranges based on supply and demand

Additionally, the salary earned by an HR manager varies by personal factors such as:

  • Degrees
  • Credentials
  • Years of experience
  • Longevity in the organization
  • Performance
  • Certifications
  • Responsibilities
  • Continuing education

The breadth of the HR manager's job responsibilities can affect pay significantly. An HR manager who performs the job of managing the complete HR function for an organization will make more money than managers who are in charge of portions of the people-related programs. 

When the HR manager is responsible for the complete HR department, they may oversee payroll, benefits, training, employee relations, recruitment and hiring, management development, compensation, organization development, personnel management, and often, communication, administration, and safety. These jobs are found most frequently in small- and mid-sized companies.

When an HR manager is responsible for managing a function within the HR department, these individuals have job titles such as training manager, recruitment manager, compensation manager, and labor relations manager. These opportunities are found most frequently in mid- to large-sized organizations.

How Location May Affect Salary

HR manager jobs in large cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City pay more than those in smaller locales.

 Regionally, HR managers make less money in the Midwest and the South and more money on the East and the West Coasts.

For accurate information about the city or area in which you want to work, your best direction is to hold informational interviews with people currently working in HR manager roles. You can also search job boards such as Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com with searches that are specific to your city, industry, and company size. You can also talk to local recruiters and members of your local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter.