What HR workers make in 18 major industries

Pyn uses Bureau of Labor Statistics data to rank the median annual salaries for human resources workers across 18 major U.S. industries.  

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Chances are that at some point in your career, you've interacted with someone in human resources. When a company needs to hire the perfect person for the job, handle an employee's questions about pay, develop onboarding training for new hires, implement an employee well-being program, or consult on benefits packages, they typically look to their human resources professionals. HR professionals are responsible for a range of tasks that are essential for communicating between the company's administration and employees.

There are about 805,000 human resources worker jobs across the United States. It's one of the most common roles for people with a bachelor's degree in business. There are also differences between human resources managers, specialists, and assistants, whose many responsibilities can include recruitment and employee personnel matters. Some HR professionals may also decide not to work in-house at one company and instead work as a consultant or for external recruiting firms.

Human resources workers earn an average of nearly $62,500 annually in the U.S. But there is a wide range of pay in this field, and one of the factors that may determine how much an HR worker is paid relates to their geographic location and their company's industry.

Pyn used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to rank the median annual salaries for human resources workers across 18 major U.S. industries. The analysis also provides a breakdown of median compensation for three of the subcategories of HR workers: managers, specialists, and assistants. Due to standard errors in the data, there may be some variation in actual rankings.

Click through for a look at what HR workers make in 18 major industries.

#18. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $48,690
-- Human resources managers: $101,640
-- Human resources specialists: $49,410
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $38,220

Working in human resources in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sectors encompasses a wide variety of jobs. HR workers who are looking to fill jobs in forestry, for example, will likely be looking to hire people based in part on their physical capacity to perform labor.

Agriculture, on the other hand, also includes office and executive jobs in agribusiness, and human resources professionals working on such tasks will have to hire for completely different competencies, such as project management. Working in outdoor environments also comes with a unique set of challenges for safety and onboard training, so HR workers with experience in these special fields are likely in higher demand.

#17. Administration, support, and waste management

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $48,970
-- Human resources managers: $99,080
-- Human resources specialists: $48,970
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $38,190

Administration, support, and waste management support includes a vast array of jobs that help other businesses and organizations function, such as sanitation workers and temporary support roles to clean up after concerts and other large events. As such, those who work in the human resources field often need the professional range to address the concerns of employers ranging from commercial offices to residential real estate buildings, as well as health and safety training requirements for workers.

#16. Retail

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $49,410
-- Human resources managers: $102,490
-- Human resources specialists: $49,410
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $37,250

Specialists in retail HR work within an ever-evolving ecosystem of retail staffers. Certain times of year that typically have more shoppers mean that HR professionals will have to be particularly adept at anticipating their companies' seasonal needs. Stores typically need more retail assistance during the autumn and winter holidays of Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, so those working in retail HR will need to be able to calibrate hiring accordingly and be well-versed in policy and personnel matters specific to part-time workers.

#15. Arts, entertainment, and recreation

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $52,770
-- Human resources managers: $99,510
-- Human resources specialists: $52,500
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $38,210

Jobs in the arts, entertainment, and recreation can span everything from working artists to managers and docents at museums and theaters. Those who work hiring artists and performers will likely need to know about how to recruit and analyze job experience based on candidates' previous roles, on-set and theatrical experiences, and depth of knowledge in a style of art or performance.

In addition to office and administrative workers, HR professionals in these fields would also need to be familiar with specialized workplace environments in recreational or entertainment fields that may require different types of safety training and hours of operation.

#14. Accommodation and food services

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $57,040
-- Human resources managers: $99,540
-- Human resources specialists: $56,820
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $36,910

The accommodation and food services industry typically encompasses everything from hotels and resorts to sit-down restaurants and outdoor cafes. HR workers in the sector will need to be aware of how demand in these sectors fluctuates through the year and in different regions of the country. For example, they will likely need to be able to provide more of their services in the summer months in vacation towns and be prepared to meet travel demand in popular winter holiday locations.

#13. Health care and social assistance

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $58,120
-- Human resources managers: $99,870
-- Human resources specialists: $57,720
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $40,230

Health care and senior care are rapidly growing sectors in the United States. The top-growing professions within the sector include nurses and nurse's aides who assist the elderly. With the rise in burnout and stress among frontline medical workers, HR professionals in this industry often need an understanding of the complexity of working with patients, which can be a high-stress environment where safety protocols and proper training are essential. HR professionals also need to be aware of mental health and family support services for medical professionals, and may be called upon to build staff well-being and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

#12. Educational services

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $61,850
-- Human resources managers: $119,620
-- Human resources specialists: $61,660
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $47,520

Educational services jobs include those who are looking to be professors and teachers. Academic careers are often extremely competitive, with academic institutions seriously considering the caliber of faculty they are hiring. HR professionals in this industry may also be the bridge between administrators and faculty and teachers' unions, ensuring that benefits administration, required training, employee handbooks, and policies and procedures are in compliance. 

#11. Construction

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $62,310
-- Human resources managers: $102,900
-- Human resources specialists: $62,320
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $42,650

Many construction jobs are physically demanding, and as such will require those working in HR to be on top of policies for workplace safety, training, and processing injury or accident cases. Human resources professionals who recruit for construction jobs will have to look for those who encompass a wide variety of skill sets. As with most jobs, they will have to find people who are properly trained, skilled, and dependable enough to accomplish the tasks required in construction work. 

#10. Real estate and rental/leasing

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $64,120
-- Human resources managers: $125,430
-- Human resources specialists: $64,120
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $47,180

 

Those working in real estate, rental, and leasing occupations are typically involved in helping others find the perfect home or apartment to buy or rent. HR professionals in this field help a real estate agency or office with internal operations, ranging from legal compliance to tracking commissions and payroll processes. Staff recruiters in these fields need to have good judgment as they screen potential applicants, and it may help to know the market for potential homes. 

#9. Wholesale trade

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $67,340
-- Human resources managers: $128,060
-- Human resources specialists: $67,130
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $46,910

People in the wholesale trade industry are typically those who work in occupations like wholesale merchandise. HR recruiters who hire for the industry will need to make sure that they find candidates who have a good sense of how global events may impact shipping and supply chains. In recent years the pandemic and related labor shortages have slowed shipping down, which has also impacted wholesaling. HR professionals placing people in wholesale trade will want to make sure they are hiring candidates with a solid understanding of the trends in logistics and global trade.

#8. Manufacturing

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $73,040
-- Human resources managers: $125,080
-- Human resources specialists: $72,370
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $44,260

The manufacturing sector is made up of those who are engaged in the physical, mechanical, or chemical production of autos, electronics, and other finished products. A wide variety of occupations count as manufacturing, from those who work primarily with their hands in factories to engineers who work mainly with chemicals and need specialized degrees and training. As employees work in an environment with equipment and machinery, HR workers need to ensure that company policies around workplace safety, employee health, and new hire training are always up to date, among other duties.

#7. Federal, state, and local government

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $75,170
-- Human resources managers: $102,520
-- Human resources specialists: $74,840
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $47,600

Those who work in the federal, state, and local government sectors do everything from managing parks and recreation departments to managing caseloads in the federal judiciary. The federal government typically has preset pay bands for employees, so salaries are less subject to market fluctuations and performance than those in other industries. Though HR managers will not need to focus on compensation issues as they would in the private sector, they still have to ensure that policies meet federal standards, especially around ensuring equal opportunity hiring.

#5. Management of companies and enterprises (tie)

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $76,040
-- Human resources managers: $130,340
-- Human resources specialists: $75,650
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $46,640

With typically higher salaries than others in their organizations, HR professionals in the business sector often oversee the complex internal operations of companies across many kinds of industries, sales, and services. Whether working at a small business with less than 100 people or a multinational corporation with thousands, HR managers must work closely with executive leadership to develop strategic planning for hiring, assist with organizational structure and manager training, implement employment benefits programs, develop diversity and inclusion policies, and also field any personnel or compliance issues that may arise. Recruiting C-suite and executive roles is one of the most specialized in the HR field, as well as the highest paying for outside recruiters.

#5. Mining (tie)

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $76,040
-- Human resources managers: $126,650
-- Human resources specialists: $76,040
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $48,470

Mining has historically been a dangerous industry for workers who've had to run operations deep underground, or—when it comes to global job placement for mining engineers—in remote conditions or the extreme weather of Arctic or tropical environments. With such high-risk work sites, HR professionals need to ensure that they have safety and job site training policies up to industry standards, and may need to be well-versed in workers' benefits and benefits policy requirements across different countries or states.

#4. Finance and insurance

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $76,700
-- Human resources managers: $131,710
-- Human resources specialists: $76,450
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $46,960

Finance and insurance are typically two highly compensated industries, so companies need to work with their HR professional to ensure they offer competitive benefits, well-being programs, and compensation to attract workers. As with many industries that work with financial services, HR professionals also need to be well-versed in compliance issues and ensuring that employee handbooks and workplace training ensure that employees are aware of ethics, best practices, and legal requirements in their work. Human resources departments are also the link between staffers and administrators when it comes to mediating any personnel matters, as well as implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and benefits administration.

#3. Professional, scientific, and technical services

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $76,920
-- Human resources managers: $133,980
-- Human resources specialists: $76,920
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $46,910

The professional, scientific, and technical services industry encompasses everything from scientists who work for labs, to pharmacologists who synthesize new drugs. HR professionals may also need to be aware of special training requirements, particularly in health and safety regulations, for employees who will be in lab settings and working with chemicals or highly sensitive equipment. For those who are tasked with hiring the ideal candidates to fulfill highly skilled roles may need specialized technical or scientific knowledge themselves, and may be compensated accordingly well.

#2. Utilities

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $81,050
-- Human resources managers: $132,270
-- Human resources specialists: $80,510
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $61,100

Those who work in utilities play a part in the provision of everything from natural gas to electric power to steam supply. These positions are often highly lucrative and require many years of training and study. The overall high salaries of those engaged in the field may be responsible in part for the higher salaries commanded by HR workers in the energy and utilities field.

#1. Information

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- Median salary for human resources workers: $82,240
-- Human resources managers: $163,360
-- Human resources specialists: $81,660
-- Human resources assistants (except payroll/timekeeping): $47,330

People in the information industry capture value from knowledge and data. This has become a particularly lucrative and popular sector in the internet age, with companies looking to use data to drive sales and accomplish other business goals. This means that companies may be willing to pay more to HR workers who can help them develop office benefits, well-being, and compensation programs to help retain highly sought-after tech workers. In this competitive field, negotiating salaries, successfully recruiting in-demand workers, and retaining employees will all be essential skills.

 

This story originally appeared on Pyn and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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