What is the Average HR Specialist Salary?

Updated on September 1st, 2020
What is the Average HR Specialist Salary?

HR is the latest field that’s being digitized and computerized as tech like HRM systems, payroll software, and HR suites are coming into the market. This means that the value of all HR professionals is gradually increasing. For instance, the average HR specialist salary was way different just two decades ago.

Today, the average salary for HR specialist employees has increased exponentially. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), different states in the US have different mean salaries for HR specialists.

What Does a HR Specialist Do?

A HR specialist is responsible for screening, recruiting, interviewing, and employing workers and new hires. It includes things like onboarding, filing new hire reports, etc.

However, to be clear, a HR specialist is not responsible for factors like job analysis, compensation, benefits, employee assistance programs, and training and development, but can be tasked with such things (depending on the company).

For a more well-rounded role, specialists may also help with data entry into and payroll systems and may be tasked to administer health benefit plans.

Furthermore, specialists have to compile data for employee terminations, government audits, and employee annual reviews, among other things.

Aside from that, they have to ensure compliance with all labor laws and maintain employee handbooks, employee access portals, and have to make sure that memos are distributed to and read by all employees.

What is the Average Base Salary for a Human Resources Specialist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean salary as of May 2018 for HR specialists is $66,790.

However, according to Glassdoor, the current average base bay as of March 2021 is around $51,115.

That translates to an hourly wage of approximately $32.11. Furthermore, there are approximately 594,000 human resources specialists currently working full-time.

The District of Columbia has the highest annual mean wage which goes up to $93,880, with an hourly wage of $45.13.

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.

Is There a Gender Disparity in How Much a HR Specialist Makes?

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. Since the job is done by a majority of females, if there was a disparity, it would be extremely obvious.

What Are the Salary Ranges for HR Specialists?

Typically, the job title has a relatively small salary range. The total compensation value ranges from $35,000 to $75,000.

HRs at the higher range are usually called development specialists. Typically, they’re the ones with Bachelor’s degrees and Graduate degrees from reputable universities. However, companies like Google and Amazon have made an effort to consider other factors when deciding on a salary.

Furthermore, the additional cash compensation average is around $3,557. The range hangs between $758 to $11,002.

Salary Range with Respect to Size

The following lists down the changes in the average salary and salary ranges with respect to different sizes.

  • 0-50 Employees: The average base pay is $45,383 and the salary ranges from $31,000 to $67,000.
  • 51-200 Employees: The average base pay is $46,405 and the salary ranges from $32,000 to $68,000.
  • 201-500 Employees: A further increase lands the average salary at $48,027, while ranging from $33,000 to $71,000.
  • 501-1000 Employees: With little change, the average pay is $48,906 and ranges from $34,000 and $72,000.
  • 1001-5000 Employees: The average base pay rises to $51,149 and ranges from $35,000 to $75,000.
  • 5001+ Employees: With an extremely small change, the average salary is $51,611 while the salary ranges from $36,000 to $76,000.

Typically, in all sizes, the highest portion lies between the $50,000 to $60,000 salary range.

If you're interested in learning more about increasing your HR salary, then add an HR Certification Course to your resume.

Human Resources Certifications

Salary Range with Respect to Years of Experience

The following list details the change in the average salary and salary ranges with respect to the years of experience a specialist has in their field.

  • 0-1 Years of Experience: The typical starting base salary for newcomers is $41,024 and the salary range is between $28,000 to $61,000. The lower end of the range is usually small companies that require a lot of onboarding.
  • 1-3 Years of Experience: Specialists with some experience in operations and labor relations tend to have an average base pay of $45,734 and their salary ranges from $32,000 to $67,000.
  • 4-6 Years of Experience: An experienced individual will generally have an average pay of $50,652. Their salaries may range from $35,000 to $75,000.
  • 7-9 Years of Experience: Specialists with experience in being project managers and office managers have an average base pay of $53,401 and their salaries ranges from $37,000 and $79,000.
  • 10-14 Years of Experience: specialists aiming to become human resources generalists tend to have an average base pay of $59,683. The salary range for this level is between $41,000 and $88,000.
  • 15+ Years of Experience: specialists with more than 15 years of experience, who are most likely aiming to become human resources managers have an average salary of $64,870. The salary range starts from $45,000 and goes up to a massive $95,000.

Usually, it’s rare to see someone with more than 15 years of experience at a specialist position, which is why there aren’t many specialists with salaries exceeding $80,000.

Average Salaries for Related Jobs

It’s good to know how a specialists’ salary compares with other positions in the department. are some of the typical job titles.

  • HR Assistant: An entry-position, the average salary is around $39,000.
  • HR Generalist: A step-up from a specialist, the average base pay is around $53,000.
  • HR Manager: Above the specialist and generalist position, the average salary is around $61,000.
  • HR Coordinator: A supportive role, the average salary is $44,000.
  • Recruiter: Recruitment is a specialists’ job, however, recruiter-only roles provide an average salary of $50,092.

All of the above salaries are subject to change depending on the state you’re in, your size, your experience level, and your academic background.

How Do I Know if I’m Getting a Good Specialist Salary?

It’s important to understand that salaries are based on a number of factors. This includes your level of studies, the number of courses you’ve done, the number of certifications you have, whether you have endorsements, how many years of experience you have, which state you’re living in, and the size of your company.

With so many factors, it can be hard to gauge whether you’re receiving the right salary. If you have good employee relations, you can start by getting an idea of how others are being paid in your company.

Then, you can compare those salaries with the industry by going to sites like Glassdoor or PayScale. Set different filters and assess the salaries 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 a HR 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 a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.