What is the Average HR Executive Salary?

Want to know the average HR executive salary? We are here to share the details with you.

Research shows that 67% of job seekers consider salary to be the most important piece of information when evaluating a job. You can’t ignore salary when looking for an HR executive role. 

An HR executive is an HR professional responsible for performing the most fundamental human resources operations, including managing HR processes, updating HR policies, and creating referral programs.


The top human resources executive salary in the US is $221,000 per year. Several factors contribute to your salary as a human resources executive such as experience, location, education, industry, and others.

Let’s find out everything about human resources executive salaries in this guide.

Human Resources Executive Salary Based on Location

The human resources executive salaries vary depending on where you live. Even in the United States, you’ll notice a significant difference in the median salary as you move from one state to another. This is due to a difference in the local job market (difference between human resources executive jobs vs. available candidates in the market). Employers have to offer a high average salary in cities with a high cost of living.

Let’s see how the average human resources executive salaries compare across different locations:

Highest Paying US States

Here are the highest-paying states when it comes to HR executive salaries:

  • New York: $185,000
  • California: $173,000
  • Massachusetts: $150,000
  • Texas: $141,000
  • Florida: $139,000

If you are in any of these states, there are chances for you to earn an average salary of $80K+ per year.

Texas has the lowest cost of living index out of these 5 states, making it the best state to be in if you want to become a human resources executive. The cost of living here is 7% less than the national average, making it the best state for human resource executives.

Lowest Paying US States

The following states have the lowest salary ranges for human resources executives:

  1. North Carolina: $142,000
  2. New Hampshire: $138,000
  3. Illinois: $138,000
  4. Michigan: $128,000
  5. Missouri: $127,000

All these states have a cost of living less than the national average. North Carolina has the highest cost of living which is 5% less than the national average. It seems to be the least suitable state for human resources executives in terms of salary and cost of living comparison.

Take a look at our top-rated HR generalist certification to nourish and upskill your knowledge to become a better HR executive:

HR Generalist Certification

Human Resources Executive Salary Based on Industry

The industry has a direct impact on how much human resources executives make per year. Research shows that finance and technology are the two top industries with the highest human resources executive salaries.

Finance has a whopping $97,000 per year average human resources executive salary. Technology, professional, manufacturing, and real estate are the other four highest-paid industries for human resources executives.

These are the large industries that have formal human resources departments and HR teams. And this is a reason why the average salaries are higher in these industries. A SaaS, for example, with less than 50 employees doesn’t have a formal human resources department and even if it hires a human resources executive, the salary is not too high.

You need to pick and target one of these industries if you are interested in earning a decent salary as a human resources executive. Developing industry-relevant skills and expertise is the best way to increase your average monthly salary.

Salaries for the Human Resources Executive Career Path

The salaries throughout the human resources executive career path change as you move up the ladder. Understanding the human resources executive career path helps you better plan your career and make well-informed decisions. Let’s see how salaries change throughout this career path starting from HR assistant to all the way to human resources executives:

Human Resources Assistant: $49,970

This is a clerical role where the primary responsibility of a human resources assistant is to assist HR specialists and the human resources team in their day-to-day tasks. Most companies hire fresh candidates without any experience in human resources. Companies prefer a high school diploma, associate degree, and even a college degree for this position.

Human Resources Coordinator: $57,609

Human resources coordinator is an early-stage role that goes by many names such as human resources specialist, human resources generalist, training and development coordinator, and related job titles. This is the first resource of an employee in any organization. They act as a coordinator between employees and the human resources department.

You qualify for a human resources coordinator after 1-3 years of experience as a human resources assistant or any relevant administration job. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for this position. The salary estimate of a human resources coordinator is $57,609 per year with an entry-level salary of $47,000 per year.

Human Resources Executive: $157,612

Human resources executive (also known as human resources manager) is a key position in this career path with an average salary of $157,612 per year. The HR executive is involved in the planning, coordination, and execution of different human resources functions.

You need a bachelor’s degree with at least 5 years of relevant experience to become a human resources manager in a reputable company. Certifications help at this stage as it is a managerial role that requires diverse skills and certifications help you prove your worth.

Human Resources Director: $164,066

The human resources director or director of human resources is an executive position with leadership and strategic responsibilities. A director has to deal with the overall HR strategy of the company, set HR goals and objectives, manage legal aspects of human resources, and take key strategic initiatives. The role requires 10+ years of human resources experience and a master’s degree in a relevant field.

Human Resources Vice President: $344,418

A senior executive vice president (or chief human resources officer) is the officer who runs the HR department. This is a creative, visionary, and strategic role where the VP of HR is involved in meetings, budgeting, and setting the long-term HR and organizational objectives of the company. A master’s degree with 10-20 years of relevant experience is the minimum requirement to be eligible for this position.

HR Executive Education

A college degree is a basic requirement to qualify for a human resources executive role. A bachelor’s degree in disciplines, like human resource development, human resources management, business management/administration, organizational behavior, or industrial and organizational psychology, is ideal.

A bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline is necessary if you wish to serve in a large company with a higher-than-average base salary. However, having a relevant master’s degree in one of these fields increases your chance of earning even more as an executive. If you have a master’s degree vs. a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to have a high salary.

HR Executive Certifications

HR certifications play a significant role in how much a human resources executive makes. A Bachelor’s degree helps you start your career in human resources while certifications help you reach an executive position with decent pay. Here are the best human resources certifications to improve your skills and increase your average salary:

  1. HR Generalist Certification by HR University is one of the most appraised courses that allow you to deep diver into HR generalist skills. Any HR expert looking to excel in their career can enroll in the course to benefit from its unique course learning outcomes.
  2. SHRM-CP is offered by the Society of Human Resource Management. The Certified Professional (CP) is one of the most reputable certifications for human resource professionals. It is an online certification with a flexible duration. You must have a bachelor’s degree or at least one year of human resources experience to enroll in the program
  3. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by HRCI Certification is a human resources advanced certification for executives. Anyone having at least four years of professional HR experience is eligible for the 2-hours exam
  4. People Analytics for HR (PAHR) Certification by HCI is a 2-day virtual certification that is conducted over Zoom. This is ideal for a human resources executive who is interested in analytics and data. There aren’t any enrollment requirements making it easier for working professionals. 

Final Remarks

Human resources executive is a lucrative career with lots of growth opportunities. Expect to earn more as you gain experience. Experience and certification are the two keys to your success in this field. Get certifications from reputable institutions and pick a growing and large industry such as finance, manufacturing, or technology.

Large companies that have formal human resources departments not only offer you a high salary but you’ll have tremendous growth opportunities. So, choose your industry wisely. 


Here are the most frequently asked questions related to HR executive salary:

What is the role of an HR executive?

The role of an HR executive in an organization is to manage a company’s human resources. HR executives recruit, train, and manage staff while ensuring compliance with labor laws. They build and implement programs to boost employee performance and handle employee grievances.

What is the salary of an HR executive in the US?

The salary of an HR executive in the US is $157,612 per year. The base pay of an HR executive ranges between $79,000 and $147,000 annually. Additional income, including cash bonus, tips, and commission, is $52,433 per year.

Is HR executive a stressful job?

Yes, like every other HR job, the duty of an HR executive is stressful. An HR executive manages HR teams and supervises all workers in the department. They sit at the top of the hierarchy and make sure that all HR operations run smoothly.

What is the next level after HR executive?

The next job title that comes after an HR executive is Chief Human Resources Officer. This is the HR leader of an organization responsible for managing the department and building HR strategies to recruit and train the most qualified candidates for the required positions.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR Executive position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in HR, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR Executive resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after Human Resources Executive job.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.