An Analysis of HR Specialist Salaries & Compensation

As an HR specialist, you know that salaries can vary greatly from company to company. But what’s the right amount to ask for in salary negotiations? Read on for an analysis of HR compensation

Phil from 4 day week
7 min readDec 6, 2022

A human resource (HR) specialist is one of the most important roles a person can undertake in a business. They handle many critical tasks, like recruitment, training, payroll, compensation, and more. That’s why a business will find it very difficult to run without their help.

So, if you’re looking to become an HR specialist, the good news is that your service is in very high demand. Finding a job that pays well, has good benefits, and has good working time won’t be difficult. Many companies will let you work four days a week, so long that you perform your duties well.

4 Day Week is here to help you find these job opportunities! But before we get there, let’s discuss the job’s specifics first. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the HR specialist job, from what you’ll do to how much you will be paid and what sort of benefits you’ll get!

What Is an HR Specialist?

An HR specialist is a person who is trained in all aspects of human resource management. They can recruit, train, and evaluate new employees for the company. Additionally, they will also have the necessary skills to handle payrolls, benefits, compensation, employee relations, and other tasks.

But they’re called HR “specialists” for a reason.

Specialists are those that specialize in one specific area of human resources. They will have far higher technical skills and more in-depth knowledge in that area than others.

Here are a few areas that an HR person can focus on to become a specialist:

  • Risk management: Analyzes and handles the risks of having a workforce. In other words, they work to minimize the risks that employees pose to the business (e.g., dealing with violent or ineffective employees.)
  • Labor relations: Help maintain a line of communication between management and employees, facilitate labor disputes, and help employees with work rules and other legalities.
  • Recruitment and retention: Seeks, recruits, and retains talents for the company.
  • Training and development: Handles the training and onboarding of new employees.
  • Compensation and benefits: Calculates salaries, benefits, and bonuses for employees.
  • Workforce planning: Analyze the company’s workforce and develop hiring plans to meet future staffing needs.
  • Workflow analysis: Break down the performance of employees to find out how they could be improved. Specialists in workflow analysis will also draw up training plans to address performance issues and optimize workflow.

What Does an HR Specialist Do in a Company?

The answer to this question will depend on the size of the company you work for.

In small companies, HR specialists generally spend most of their time being “HR generalists.” They will take on many different roles, depending on the needs of the company at the time.

For example, say the company is in a recruitment drive. If you’re the HR specialist, you will be expected to fill in as the one handling the recruitment and interview. And if a conflict pops up between two employees in the company the next day, your management may assign you to look into and mediate it.

These companies typically don’t have a lot of resources or staffing. So, it’s understandable that they would want to hire people who can juggle many different jobs.

In large companies, HR specialists will have more opportunities to shine.

These companies will usually have separate departments handling different tasks, like a recruitment department, a labor relations department, etc. Specialists will be assigned to the departments that suit their skillset. So, they will have to spend less time doing things they don’t specialize in.

How Much Do HR Specialists Make in the US?

According to Payscale, an HR specialist makes about $53,109 per year in base pay. But factoring in bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing, an HR specialist can bring home as much as $72,000 a year!

As always, the pay will differ depending on where you’re based.

  • The West Coast is where you will find the most high-paying job opportunities. In Santa Cruz (California), the average annual pay for an HR specialist is $75,168, and $73,413 in Santa Rosa.
  • An HR specialist working in Manhattan, NYC, can expect to bring home about $71,804 per year. As for those working out of Arlington, you’ll make about $70,515
  • Salaries in the Midwest aren’t very optimistic. In Chicago, for example, an HR specialist makes only around $60,979. But this is still higher than what the average American makes ($56,310)!

As we said earlier, they handle so many critical tasks in a company that the organization would have difficulty running optimally without them. So, other than being highly sought-after, HR specialists more than deserve the good pay!

How Much Does an HR Specialist Make in Other Countries?

HR specialists can be found in just about every country. So, how much do they make outside of the US? Here’s the chart.

  • In China, according to SalaryExpert, the average salary for HR specialists is typically around ¥140,303 a year, which equates to $25,481.
  • In the United Kingdom, an HR specialist makes an average of £42,602 ($46,259) per year.
  • HR specialists do slightly better in Canada, having an average salary of $57,917 per year.
  • Australia pulls far ahead of other countries, with HR specialists here making an average of $84,491 per year, according to Indeed.

So, if you’re orienting your career toward becoming an HR specialist, consider working in the United States or Australia. These countries are where international, well-known firms place their base of operation, so this isn’t surprising!

What Do Large Companies Pay Their HR Specialists?

Wondering what the top companies in the world pay their HR specialists? The answers may surprise you!

Every company needs the help of HR specialists, but what they’re willing to pay for their services differs from company to company. Generally speaking, you will find job postings from tech companies that pay more than those from other industries.

The reason is pretty simple. Tech companies mostly employ highly-skilled workers, and recruiting, managing, and retaining them aren’t simple. The pays are proportional to the level of work!


IBM (International Business Machines) is one of the premier companies in the tech world. It is also one of the largest, well on par with other tech giants like Google and Facebook.

Working as an HR specialist at IBM is rewarding both in terms of working experience and finances. According to Glassdoor, an HR specialist’s base pay is $86,742 annually. But that’s merely the base pay. On average, you may also get about $9,770 additional pay (stocks, bonuses.) That can add up to a total of $96,512 per annum!

IBM Office


So, what about Google? It’s a company that we don’t need to introduce for you to know what they’re all about. After all, you probably found this article thanks to Google’s prolific search engine!

Anyway, a human resources specialist salary at Google is slightly better than at IBM. The average base pay is a rather lowly $73,621 per year. But factoring in the bonuses and stock options for a cool $25,484 extra, you can make $99,105 per year by choosing to work at Google.

Google office


A job at Apple’s famous campus as an HR specialist won’t add as many figures into your bank account as a job from Google, unfortunately. The base pay is about $73,050 per year. But if you work well enough and gain some bonuses and stock options, you can quickly pump that number to a cool $92,887 per year (with $19,837 in additional pays.)

Apple office


As we mentioned earlier, tech companies are willing to pay more for HR specialists’ services because they have to work harder to keep the company’s workforce in order. Curious about how companies in other industries pay? Let’s take an example in PwC.

PwC is one of the big four accounting firms out there. They work with hundreds — maybe even thousands — of companies worldwide. Their work includes auditing, tax analysis, risk management, security, and more.

So, how much would you get if you were hypothetically offered a job at PwC’s HR department?

Well, the base pay is fairly decent at $84,545 per year. However, compared to IBM or Google, the additional pays are fairly modest at an extra $6,503 a year. That brings us to a total of $91,048 a year.

PwC Office

Wrapping it up

Companies will still need the help of skilled HR specialists for a long time, so you’ll never be out of a job so long that you keep looking. And, as you can see above, companies — especially large ones — are willing to pay a lot of money to have an HR specialist in their corner.

And that one person could be you!

At 4DayWeek, other than believing that everyone should get paid well, we also believe that people should have the chance to work remotely and flexibly. And that means doing away with the traditional (and incredibly exhausting) 5-day work week!

All our job listings offer a 4-day work week. With an extra day off, you will easily maintain your work-life balance.

And if you’d like to work less, we also have a dedicated page to part-time jobs that you can apply to. Whatever you choose, good luck!

This article was originally posted on 4 day week — jobs with a four day workweek 🎉