2022

What is the Average HR Specialist Salary?

The HR specialist role helps the human resources department handle its diverse responsibilities. They are skilled in a particular focused HR area. For example, it could be recruitment, compensation and benefits planning, or organizational strategy. Therefore, it is a vital role within the department. According to popular salary reporting platforms Glassdoor, the HR specialist salary lies between the $26,000 and $153,000 range.

The average pay for the HR specialist role has changed significantly over the years. In addition, external factors like area, industry, and general economic conditions also affect the statistics. Therefore, you should know the current salary landscape for the HR specialist role.

This article discusses what the HR specialist role looks like, their compensation figures, and how the statistics differ across locations within the US.

Average Human Resources Specialist Salary

The HR specialist role’s pay depends on their experience working within a specialized area and industry. But additionally, it depends on the organization and its scale too. After all, that determines the workload and level of duties for the average HR specialist working there.

According to different salary reporting websites, here are some salary estimations and figures for the HR specialist role.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor reports that the average annual pay for HR specialists is $58,810. This figure breaks down into a base pay of $44,071 and additional pay of $14,739. Additionally, it reports that the highest salary can go to $152,000.

Indeed

According to Indeed, the average base salary for HR specialists amounts to $45,149. The website also reports that the highest annual salary for the role can go to $125,000.

PayScale

PayScale reports that the average annual compensation for the HR specialist role can go up to $72,000. In addition, it shows the average base salary is $52,664 per year, further including bonuses (up to $7,000), profit-sharing (up to $9,000), and commissions of up to $10,000.

Meanwhile, according to the Department of Labor, a quick survey of job alerts and new job postings revealed that most HR specialist jobs were in California (with Los Angeles at the top). It’s followed by Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

Career Outlook for an HR Specialist

An HR specialist can climb the ladder and gain better compensation by specializing further and gaining more crucial skills. However, as they occupy more senior positions, they have to cope with more serious duties. Therefore, they need to transition only after gaining professional experience and expertise.

An HR specialist can move on to become a senior HR specialist after gaining the necessary experience. Afterward, they can go up levels to become an HR specialist V. The HR professional can then transition into serious executive roles like Director of HR, Senior Director of HR, and Vice President of HR.

If you’re interested in learning more about the human resources field and gaining crucial knowledge necessary for well-paying roles, you should look into the HR certification courses at HR University.

Human Resources Certifications

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

Senior HR Specialist

This role handles bigger and more technical responsibilities than an average HR analyst. Therefore, they have a higher average annual compensation of $74,578. As per Glassdoor, there are more than three thousand opportunities for a senior HR analyst in the US.

HR Specialist V

While they may sound similar, this role differs from the senior HR manager role. The senior manager of HR is a senior position within the department, but they focus on an aspect such as data handling and analytics. Therefore, they receive an average annual salary of $120,899. According to Glassdoor, there are many vacancies for this role (almost 25 thousand) in the US.

Director of HR

This role involves overseeing a team of HR analysts in their daily tasks while guiding and training new recruitments. Additionally, they make important decisions about the HR department’s technological tools.

A senior lead HR analyst can receive an annual salary of up to $133,328.

Senior Director of HR

This role is further up on the human resources career path. Its job title showcases the role’s required professional experience and the importance of its associated duties. The position can fetch an average total compensation of $146,782 annually.

Top Paying Cities for HR Specialists

According to ZipRecruiter, these cities offer the most attractive opportunities for HR specialists.

US West Coast

Average annual salaries for HR business partners are as follows:

  • Santa Cruz: $75,168
  • Santa Rosa: $73,473

US Midwest/Rocky Mountains

Average annual salaries for HR business partners are as follows:

  • Chicago: $60,979

US East Coast

Average annual salaries for HR business partners are as follows:

  • Manhattan: $71,804
  • Arlington: $70,515

Gender Disparity in HR Specialist Salary Statistics

There is no gender pay gap when it comes to HR specialist-related jobs. According to PayScale, the gender breakdown is as follows.

Female HR Specialists: 86.4%

Male HR Specialists: 13.3%

Self-Defining HR Specialists: 0.3%

The national average salary is what every HR specialist receives regardless of their gender. Additionally, since the demographic consists of primarily females, a disparity would be self-evident.

Education Level for HR Specialist Role

The HR specialist role is a focused position, and the professional handles specific duties. However, they need to have the right skill set to enter the industry and specialize further.

An HR specialist needs to have a Bachelor’s in human resources administration or business field. Once they enter the field and specialize further, they can move to more serious roles.

Apart from a college degree, many certifications can help HR specialists boost their pay and advance further. Some are given below:

  • HR University: Their HR management certification equips an HR professional with crucial human resources knowledge. 
  • SHRM: It is an industry-standard organization and offers a certified professional exam for HR professionals.
  • HRCI: They offer many certifications for professionals to advance through any human resources role’s career path.

HR Specialist Salary Across Top Companies

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

  • Walgreens: $71,319
  • PwC: $72,225
  • Amazon: $80,000
  • IBM: $84,356
  • Marriott International: $59,430

Conclusion

It’s important to understand that salaries depend on several factors. It includes the number of certifications you’ve done, whether you have endorsements, how many years of experience you have, which state you’re living in, and the size of your organization.

It can be hard to gauge whether you’re receiving the right salary for so many factors. However, if you have good employee relations, you can start by understanding the compensation of others within the organization.

Then, you can compare those salaries with the industry by going to sites like Glassdoor or PayScale. Set different filters on these tools and assess the wages accordingly.

This way, you’ll get a rough idea of your worth and whether your salary matches, exceeds, or is less than the industry average.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR specialist 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.