What Is the Average HR Generalist Salary?

An HR generalist has one of the most versatile jobs in the entire human resources department. They are adept at all essential HR functions and handle diverse responsibilities. Therefore, every HR department needs a talented individual for this role, and the average HR generalist in the United States receives impressive compensation.

This article takes you through all the critical compensation statistics related to the HR generalist role and provides a location-wise breakdown of salaries.

Let’s dive right in.

Average HR Generalist Salary

The base HR generalist salary varies from state to state in the US.

The average base salary for your state (or city) depends on various factors, with the cost of living being the most common one. However, it also depends on the years of professional experience and industry.

Some compensation statistics from the leading sources of salary figures are given below.


The average HR generalist salary in the United States is $68,969 per year, as per Glassdoor. In general, the average salary ranges from $42,000 to $116,000. Furthermore, data indicate that HR generalists receive an “additional cash compensation” of $17,793 along with their base pay.


According to Indeed, the national average HR generalist salary figure is $57,664.

These estimates are based on around 8,300 salary reports from all across the US, including major hubs such as New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.


According to PayScale, another trustworthy source to get pay estimates, the average HR generalist’s base salary is $56,253 a year in the US.

Additionally, they can get significant additional compensations like bonuses (up to $7,000), commissions (up to $10,000), and profit ($1,561), bringing the actual take-home pay to somewhere up to $73,000 a year.

Career Outlook for a Human Resources Generalist

Since it is an entry-level position, an HR generalist’s career progresses much further after gaining additional years of professional experience. Their knowledge helps them transition to managerial roles easily since they know the ins and outs of all HR functions.

After gaining crucial professional expertise, the professional can move on and become a senior HR generalist. The HR professional can then transition into a principal HR generalist position by handling more significant and more diverse duties. Eventually, the years of professional experience and expertise enable the individual to become the Vice President of HR.

The average salaries for more senior positions on the HR generalist career path (as per Glassdoor and reported in March 2022) are given below:

Senior HR Generalist

A senior HR generalist position requires significant technical knowledge of human resources and years of handling different HR functions. The role receives total annual compensation of $93,618 and requires two to four years of experience with HR.

Principal HR Generalist

After handling diverse human resources responsibilities for at least more than eight years, an individual can move on to become the principal HR generalist. This role is a senior role within the department, and the average annual compensation for the principal HR generalist reaches $145,073.

Vice President of HR

After gaining more expertise and skill, a principal HR generalist can get promoted to the VP of HR and become responsible for the whole HR department. The role receives an annual total pay of $238,987 and is crucial for organizations if they wish to have a smooth functioning human resources division.

Technical human resources knowledge is crucial for climbing the career ladder and achieving well-paying roles. To gain such necessary knowledge and skills, you should check out our top-quality HR Generalist certification at HR University and start your journey towards a successful human resources career.

Want to Become a Great HR Generalist

HR Generalist Salary Across Different Locations

According to Indeed, the location-wise categorization of cities with the highest paying HR generalist salaries is as below.

U.S. West Coast

Average annual salaries for HR generalists are as follows:

  • Portland: $59,924

U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains

Average annual salaries for HR generalists are as follows:

  • Chicago: $62,396

U.S. East Coast

Average annual salaries for HR generalists are as follows:

  • New York: $66,657

U.S. South

Average annual salaries for HR generalists are as follows:

  • Atlanta: $60,347
  • Dallas: $59,864

Education Level for HR Generalist Role

Since an HR generalist’s responsibilities involve handling diverse HR functions, organizations expect their qualifications to be diverse. Therefore, landing a well-paying HR generalist job means pursuing the right academic qualifications and certifications.

An HR generalist should at least have a Bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business administration, or a related field. A Master’s can help them advance to a more senior professional position like an HR manager.

Just like other HR roles, there are a variety of certifications an HR generalist can pursue and add to their resume. Some prominent ones are given below:

  • HR University: They offer a top-quality HR Generalist certification to prepare you for a well-paying position.
  • SHRM: Their certified professional certification intends to prep HR professionals with solid human resources skills needed for an HR generalist role.
  • HRCI: It offers many certifications aimed at HR professionals of all scales, such as their ‘Professional in Human Resources certification.

To learn more about the educational requirements for the role, watch below or skip ahead.

HR Generalist Salary Across Top Companies

As per Glassdoor, here is what the annual average HR generalist salary looks like in some of the top firms across different industries.

  • Marriott International: $66,121
  • Nestle USA: $75,122
  • Walgreens: $90,304
  • T-Mobile: $68,118
  • Comcast: $66,412


Since it gives you a diverse professional experience, you can take many different routes to move forward after a successful HR generalist career.

Unlike roles that require specialization, you have the advantage of gaining knowledge and experience in different areas.

By staying on the HR generalist track, you can become an HR Business Partner, a role where you work side-by-side with the upper management to create and execute strategies. Afterward, you can move to more senior positions like HR director.

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

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.