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Salary Range: Human Resources


Most children don’t dream of someday working in human resources, well, except maybe the precocious kids at “Payroll administration,” “team-building games,” and “benefit guidelines” are not the most spine-tingling phrases in a job description. Still, there’s no denying that HR is with us for the long haul and is a growing career field.

As the human resource job market grows, it is giving birth to an array of sub-specialties such as Payroll Administrator, HR Manager, Recruiter, Hiring Manager, Benefits Administrator, Corporate Trainer, Leadership Coach, HR Generalist, Vice President of Human Resources, and, my favorite, Compensation Analyst; the list goes on and on. For those who are seeking employment, the HR professional is usually the first person you must win over.

We all have a horror story or embarrassing job interview. A 30-something friend of a friend once interviewed to be an assistant for Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton. To his great surprise, the person interviewing him was Keaton’s then-current assistant: a teenager who had recently graduated from high school and was leaving to go to college. There’s nothing more awkward than being interviewed by someone half your age and having to impress them.

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Information on Human Resources Jobs and Functions

If you’re considering going into human resources, or “HR” as the pros call it, you might want to get some information on human resources jobs and functions from Suzane Karmacharyar’s blog. For salary, however, we have the info. If you were a typical Vice President of Human Resources working in Chicago, you would earn an average salary of $157,100 with the higher end going beyond $230,000. Add in perks such as bonuses and profit sharing, you total cash compensation goes even higher: $195,000 to $305,000 are in play. Of course, your job would be running the HR department at a large company and would be setting key corporate HR policies, including compensation, hiring, etc.

Corporate executives often say their employees are their companies’ most important asset. The rise in prominence of, and pay for, HR is strong evidence that at least some companies believe this.

Since this is highly paid executive position, you might find yourself targeted by other HR personnel from another company, the Recruiter. Often called a “headhunter”, the recruiter’s job is to find the best talent for a company. Let’s say you were being wooed by some executive headhunters in NJ. Typical New Jersey recruiters – trying to hunt your head – would have a salary range from $38,600 to $53,500.

Of course, senior executive recruiters can make much more. For example, the recruiter that brought in the current CEO to Ford from Boeing likely earned well beyond this range. Some recruiters work via a headhunter and contingency search agreement (the Generator Group Blog compares recruiting methods), so fall into the realm of independent contractors rather than regular employees.

Human Resources Specialist Sample Resume

If a recruiter’s job is to hire, whose job is it to fire? Sometimes giving a pink slip or bad news about downsizing will fall on the shoulders of the HR Manager. This is guy or gal who is down in the trenches. The HR Manager directly deals with the human resources staff, keeps the HR department running, deals with day-to-day issues and interfaces with other company employees. A HR Manager in Seattle earns an average salary of $52,200, but pay varies greatly by industry, experience, responsibilities, and company size.

An HR person that employees enjoy meeting is the Benefits Administrator, who can explain all those goodies (i.e. benefits) such as health insurance, 401Ks or stock options. The Benefits Administrator has the details on the difference between the company’s HMO or PPO health plan, vision, dental plan. As you can imagine, this job involves paperwork and responsibility. So what types of benefits does a Benefits Administrator get? That would depend on the company, but the average salary for this position in New York State is $41,900 in annual salary.

Typology of Strategies in Human Resources

With all this talk about salaries, who is in charge of making sure all these people get paid? Your friendly neighborhood Payroll Administrator! They need to be good at math to make sure that all the deductions are taken out correctly. These are also the people that tell you they can’t cut a check for another two weeks because “it’s policy.” 😉 While they have a lot perceived power, a typical Payroll Administrator in California only makes an average salary of $39,700. Once again, this can vary greatly: e.g., the chief Payroll Administrator at Disney is paid much more than the one for Penske Honda of Ontario.

A fun job in HR is Corporate Trainer. The job runs the gamut from teaching required orientation classes, instructing users on how to use Microsoft Word, to running “team-building” exercises. These often involve guiding employees through child-like games in order to foster a “team” atmosphere. You get to use words like “team player,” “go-getter” and the ever-popular “multi-tasker.” Corporate Trainers typically earn an annual salary between $54,000 and $62,000 in San Francisco, California.

Human Resources and Interview Questions

You might actually be doing all these tasks mentioned in the above positions if you are a Human Resources Generalist. These people are often a Jack or Jill of all trades. They may need to know benefits, payroll, team-building, recruiting and everything else about salary range. For all this multi-multi-multi-tasking, a typical HR Generalist in Philadelphia would earn an average salary of $40,500, with a higher-end annual salary of $53,500.

Does your salary have a happy ending? Find out with our salary calculator.


Dr. Al Lee

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