A HR administrator is in charge of all the administration-related tasks within the human resources department. In most companies, they are the first point of contact for all HR inquiries. Considering this, the significant average HR administrator salary, and the seniority that comes with it, the position is quite popular with HR personnel looking to advance their careers.
A Human Resources Administrator can also sometimes function as a Human Resources Generalist or specialist. This is because they are experts at recruitment, setting up interviews, and handling employment contracts.
Their responsibilities also include overseeing other HR personnel, making them versatile from a HR standpoint.
To better explain the role of the HR administrator, in this article I’ll take you through what they do, how to become one, and of course, how much they’re paid.
Let’s get into it.
Average HR Administrator Salary by The Numbers
The average salary of a HR administrator varies across different job reporting platforms.
The following are some reports from major independent salary and compensation reporting platforms in 2020.
Glassdoor reports an average base salary (based on self-reported data) of $48,629.
Most of the salaried HR admins fall within the average range. Also, the average additional cash compensation is $2,912.
Payscale reports an average base salary of $49,497.
In addition, the HR administrator’s salary can go up to $69,000, with a bottom average $37,000.
Economic Research Institute
The Economic Research Institute reports an average base salary of $56,832, at an hourly rate of $27/hr.
It also reports an average salary bonus of $1,381.
The combined average of the three independent sources comes down to $51,646.
Career Outlook for a Human Resource Administrator
The salary of a HR administrator in the U.S. depends on their total work experience as either a HR administrator or general HR professional.
New HR administrators make an average of $46,000, for around 5 years. From the 5 to 10-year bracket, they can earn up to $51,000. The salary becomes nearly constant at this point, only going up to $54,000, and that too during their late-career.
A HR administrator can get a better salary by either diversifying their human resources skills, or by getting a job in a company that offers better salary packages for administrators with their level of experience.
Promotion Trajectory for HR Administrators
The HR administrator’s position falls directly under the HR Manager or business partner.
Depending on a company’s HR hierarchy, an administrator can get promoted to either HR Manager or Senior Manager. A HR administrator will usually be hired as a HR Generalist, although some administrative assistants may also get promoted to the administrator’s position.
In some cases, HR administrators can move up to VP of Human Resources, but that progression is mostly seen in the IT and tech industry.
Top Paying Cities for HR Administrators
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the cities that offer the most lucrative opportunities for HR Administrators.
- Ithaca, New York: The city has a HR administrator salary average of $56,270, and $32,530 for entry-level HR administrators.
- San Francisco, Redwood City, and San Mateo, California: All the cities have a HR administrator’s salary average of $53,450, and $31,780 for entry-level HR administrators.
- Mount Vernon and Anacortes, Washington: Both cities have a HR administrator’s salary average of $52,000, and $35,480 for entry-level HR administrators.
- Southeast Alaska (non-metropolitan area): The region has a HR administrator’s salary average of $51,650, and $43,130 for entry-level HR administrators.
- Oakland and Fremont, California: Both cities have a HR administrator’s salary average of $50,690, and $29,840 for entry-level HR administrators.
Out of all the states, Washington, California, and Massachusetts have the most cities with the highest national average human resources administrator salaries. In addition, California has the highest number of HR administrator jobs.
The salary averages have seen some variation in the past few years.
HR Administrator’s Job Description
In terms of rank and job title, HR administrators are just above basic HR personnel. They’re often responsible for overseeing specific HR operations and teams (if any are assigned to them).
The responsibilities of a HR administrator include:
- Supporting talent acquisition and development
- Administering compensation and benefits
- Monitoring the performance of the HR department, and other employees
- Conflict resolution
- Overseeing all recruitment-related tasks
In addition, HR administrators make sure companies maintain regulatory compliance.
Some HR administrators may also be responsible for processing payroll, having performance evaluation meetings with employees, and even conducting job interviews alongside the various department heads.
When starting out, a HR administrator may be tasked with responding to employee questions and collecting feedback. As they progress in their careers, they work with HR directors to create and administer the company benefit plans.
Here are some of the questions that a potential candidate for the HR administrator position can expect during an interview:
- How would you implement new HR policies?
- What is your approach towards developing new benefits packages?
- Describe a time you led a challenging talent acquisition effort? How did/do you overcome the common issues associated with recruitment?
- How would you stay up to date with national regulatory laws? Also, how would you ensure compliance?
- What would you do when asked to terminate an employee?
Depending on the HR administrator's years of experience, they may also be asked questions regarding their past involvement in conflict resolution. Instances of conflict could include sexual misconduct, verbal altercations, and other employee grievances.
Required Skills and Qualifications for a HR Administrator
HR administrators require a Bachelor’s degree at minimum. They can come from various HR disciplines but training in a dedicated HR field is preferred.
An SHRM certificate along with the Bachelor’s degree will improve the candidate's odds of getting a job as an administrator.
Ideally, a candidate for the HR administrator’s position should have a postgraduate degree in one of the following areas:
- Human Resources
- Administrative management
- General HR/corporate management
- Industrial relations
- Organizational psychology
Candidates with prior experience in developing and managing employee relations have even higher chances of securing a position as a HR administrator.
How to Become the Ideal HR Administrator
Looking to adopt a career in HR administration? Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Become an Expert in the Primary HR Functions
The ideal HR administrator will have to master the main HR functions, which include:
- Recruitment and Staffing: Put together recruitment policies, acquire and retain top talent, and work as a payroll administrator.
- Regulatory Compliance: Keep the company up to regulatory standards and ensure compliance.
- Performance Management: Monitor employee performance and hold performance evaluation meetings.
- Conflict Resolution and Coordination: Manage any and all grievances within the company and resolve issues among employees.
Develop Organizational Management Skills
HR administrators will need to listen to feedback, have in-person meetings with employees, and resolve their complaints. To better manage this, they’ll have to develop empathy and become better problem-solvers.
Wrapping it Up
HR administrators are arguably the most important members of the HR operations team. This can lead to both their superiors, and the entire workforce, depending on them to manage human resources within the company.
If you have the aforementioned qualities and are willing to work closely with employees in all other departments, this position is for you.
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