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Human Resources: Salaries and Projected Growth

October 19, 2016

University Services HR Management

The average human resource salary for someone with a graduate degree is 33 percent higher than that of someone with an undergraduate degree.1 If you’re considering the human resource career path, the outlook for advancing your career is quite favorable. Human resources are essential to the function of most organizations. What’s more, large and mid-size companies seek to hire candidates with a wide range of experience and expertise. This makes earning an advanced degree a worthy investment if you want to advance in your career and earn a higher salary.

The projected job growth rate for human resource managers between 2014-2024 is 9 percent, higher than the national average of 7 percent.2 This high job growth rate is attributed to employers’ need to hire people with human resource degrees “to ensure compliance with ever-changing regulations on employment, occupational health and safety, and retirement.”1

Ready to advance your human resources career?

The online Master’s in Human Resources Management at Saint Mary’s lets you develop leadership skills and management expertise in budgeting, communication, strategy, and ethics.

The Earning Potential in Human Resources

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2015, the median national annual human resource manager salary was $104,440.2 However, earning potential varies widely based on education and work experience. For example, the BLS reported median national annual human resource salaries in 2016-2017 as follows:

  • $58,350 for human resource specialists
  • $104,440 for human resource managers
  • $111,430 for compensation and benefits managers
  • $183,590 for the top 10 percent of human resource managers

In 2011, a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that senior executives earn approximately twice as much ($273,000) as HR senior managers ($136,910) and over five times as much as entry-level HR associates ($50,120).3 However, SHRM’s study also revealed that it pays to specialize. It states that “pay levels for skilled experts in non-management, advisory-level jobs often equal or exceed pay for first-level leadership positions. In critical job functions, companies often pay advisory-level employees at market rates close to or above supervisor and manager-level positions.” According to HR Magazine, the highest-paying career specialties include labor relations and organizational development.4

The earning potential for employees with a master’s in human resources is also higher. As of 2011, the median annual salary was $73,150 for a human resources employee with a graduate degree compared to $55,000 for someone who only had a bachelor’s degree.1

Pursuing a Human Resources Graduate Degree

If you’re thinking about getting an online master’s in human resources, take a look at the program offered through the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Not only is the curriculum aligned with SHRM, but it also helps you prepare for PHR Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) certification and SPHR® Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®) certification.

The online Master’s in Human Resources Management at Saint Mary’s lets you develop leadership skills and management expertise in budgeting, communication, strategy, and ethics. You’ll be taught by practicing professionals who bring knowledge and skills from their experience into the classroom.

To learn more about the online Master’s in Human Resources Management at Saint Mary’s, call 877-308-9954 or click here to request more information.


  1. Locsin, A. “How much does someone with a degree in HR make?” (accessed August 17, 2016).
  2. “Occupational outlook handbook: Human resources managers.” (accessed August 17, 2016).
  3. Culpepper and Associates, Inc. “HR compensation: It pays to specialize.” (accessed August 17, 2016).
  4. “Human resources salary and job outlook.” (accessed August 17, 2016).