HR Execs Hear More "Ca-Ching" in 2004 Paychecks

November 12, 2004 ( - Many human resource (HR) professionals are seeing fatter paychecks this year with pay for compensation experts, recruiters, and trainers enjoying significant salary advances, according to a new survey.

A news release said the survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in conjunction with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the leaders in compensation hikes were top compensation and benefits executives whose median total cash compensation (base pay and annual incentive) skyrocketed 16% to $176,200 in 2004.

Other positions showing sizeable pay increases over the past year include:

  • Human resource specialist (up 15.1% to $51,800)
  • Top organization development executive (up 13.1% to $174,100)
  • Top HR management executive (based in a parent organization) with industrial relations responsibilities (up 12.1% to $240,000)
  • Compensation and benefit analyst (up 9.3% to $55,700)
  • Trainer (up 9% to $51,100).

Overall, salaries for HR professionals are progressively improving along with annual bonuses and eligibility for incentive pay, including stock options, noted Joe Vocino, a senior compensation consultant with Mercer, in the news release. Among 10 of the most highly populated positions in the survey, representing some of the most common positions in HR, five showed pay increases greater than 5% and only two had increases of less than 3%. The two largest hikes in this group were 9% for the position of trainer and 7.5% for top HR management executive.

According to Vocino, increases in HR salaries are in line with top HR challenges of managing benefit costs, attracting and retaining employees, and ensuring competitive reward programs. Solid increases in pay for positions in the areas of compensation, training, and recruiting reflect these top HR concerns, the survey found.

Some of the jobs within these functions did particularly well ranked by median cash compensation including compensation and benefits manager (up 5.8% to $90,500), training manager (up 6.1% to $83,000), and managerial/professional recruiter (up 10.4% to $65,900).

The study shows that pay levels within HR continue to correspond closely to functional areas (e.g., employee relations, benefits, training), particularly for professionals in middle and senior management. Among managers in HR, pay for executive compensation managers (median total cash compensation of $121,800) continues to outpace pay for all other managers. Also relatively high is pay for organizational development/training managers ($103,400) and labor relations managers ($102,600).

Managers with total cash compensation in the range of $90,000 to $100,000 include compensation managers, human resource managers, EEO/diversity managers, employment and recruiting managers, and HRIS managers. Positions in the median total cash compensation range of $80,000 to $90,000 include compensation and benefits managers, benefits managers, employee relations managers, employee communications managers, and training managers.

The survey announcement is at;jsessionid=XZUBNCLBH14NAAAJAADQOCAKMZSI4I2C .