The Salary of an HR Executive

by Debbie Mcrill; Updated September 26, 2017
HR job growth is expected to be 22 percent from 2008 to 2018.

A human resources (HR) executive is responsible for guiding the human resources programs within an organization. In general, HR is responsible for personnel recruitment, placement, and acting as a conduit for employee problems and issues. The HR department also can handle benefits, pay and other compensation. The department must make sure that the organization is abiding by laws and regulations involving employees. The executive in this position guides the employees in the department and also guides the organization on developing policy.

Salary Range

On average, a person who is considered an HR executive makes $158,981 a year as of January, 2011, according to My Salary. Organizational size and the type of industry may impact the overall salary for an HR executive. Females hold 64 percent of the jobs, and the majority of HR executives have over 10 years experience according to PayScale, on online company that provides career and salary information.

Additional Benefits

An HR executive can expect to receive bonus money as additional compensation. The bonus range can be from $5,988 to $30,695 a year, according to PayScale. An HR executive can also expect profit sharing from $2,000 to $23,000 a year.


Human resource personnel are required for almost all industries. In general, some industries pay HR personnel higher than others. Both the health care and pharmaceutical industries pay the highest. For example, on average, an HR executive salary in the pharmaceutical industry ranged from $90,148 to $155,643 in 2010, while hotel and hospitality were on the lower side from $56,717 to $95,871 a year.


To make a higher salary, many HR executives must work for larger organizations which are located in cities. Several cities have HR executives that make a salary on the higher end of the salary scale. For example, New York city was found to be the highest paying city for this career at $101,442 to $167,667 a year on January 11, 2011. The next three highest were Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.

2016 Salary Information for Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $106,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, human resources managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $80,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $145,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 136,100 people were employed in the U.S. as human resources managers.

About the Author

Debbie McRill went from managing a Texas Department of Criminal Justice office to working for Compaq and Hewlett-Packard as a technical writer and project manager in 1997. Debbie has also owned her own businesses and understands both corporate and small business challenges. Her background includes Six Sigma training, and an Information Development career with journalism and creative writing as her passion.

Photo Credits

  • world wide executives image by Leticia Wilson from