Home News HR Executive and Staff Pay Rose During the Pandemic

HR Executive and Staff Pay Rose During the Pandemic

HR Executive and Staff Pay Rose During the Pandemic

New studies highlight changes to compensation for HR executives and staff, as well as the ways in which the pandemic has changed how HR professionals work and the challenges they face.

HR Executive Pay Trends, published in October by Equilar, a research firm that tracks data on corporate leaders, analyzes compensation for HR executives at the 500 largest (by revenue) publicly traded U.S. companies.

“As concurrent trends in corporate employment have led to ascending roles and responsibilities, HR executives have been compensated accordingly,” wrote study author Dan Marcec, Atlanta-based senior editor at Equilar.

HR executive compensation is on a steady rise, according to the report. Median total compensation for HR executive roles in the largest 500 companies increased 6 percent over the past fiscal year, up from $1.9 million to $2 million in 2021, taking into account base salaries and incentive awards, including stock grants, but excluding pensions, deferred compensation and perquisites.

Among the 500 largest U.S. companies:

  • Companies with more than $50 billion in revenues awarded $3.3 million at the median to their HR executives in 2021, up from $3.1 million in 2021.
  • Companies with less than $10 billion in revenues (but still among the 500 largest) awarded $1.5 million at the medium, up from 1.4 million.

Performance awards are the most common pay component, and performance equity accounted for at least one-quarter and up to one-third of the average HR executive pay package.

Women Take the Lead

“Given the importance of workforce and human capital issues in corporate society right now, it’s noteworthy that HR executive roles are heavily dominated by women, both from a numbers standpoint and in terms of how much they’re paid,” Marcec noted.

For instance, Equilar’s survey found that:

  • From 2020 to 2021, the share of women in HR executive roles jumped from 59 percent to about 75 percent at the largest U.S. companies by revenue.
  • Just five years ago, in 2017, 42 percent of HR executive roles were held by women.
  • The chief HR officer (CHRO) role is also the only C-suite role in which women hold a majority of positions.

In 2021, female CHROs earned a median pay package of $3 million versus $1.6 million for men, Equilar found. “That gap has been growing wider by the year,” Marcec noted. “While pay scales can reflect many different factors, this trend most likely indicates that women are the leaders in the largest HR departments and perhaps hold the roles with the highest proportion of these increasing responsibilities.”

Pay for HR Positions

While the above findings highlight compensation for C-suite CHROs at the biggest U.S. companies, the pay for most HR professionals is much more down to earth, as shown by projected starting salary ranges for HR positions published in September by staffing firm Robert Half.

Information in the firm’s 2022 Salary Guide is based on data from job placements managed by Robert Half teams throughout the U.S., plus additional survey questions fielded from March 26 to April 15, 2021, with responses from more than 2,800 workers across the U.S.

While the online guide allows for location-based searches, the figures below reflect pay levels for new hires throughout the U.S.

How HR Work Has Changed

Robert Half survey questions were fielded to executives, senior managers and employees from organizations with at least 20 employees up to the largest corporations, both private and publicly traded. The responses showed that the pandemic also has changed how HR professionals work:

  • 69 percent of HR managers are working remotely at least some of the time, as HR employees frequently demand a hybrid work schedule.
  • 53 percent of hiring managers are offering signing bonuses for new HR employees.
  • 44 percent of companies plan to outsource recruiting duties.
  • 41 percent of HR personnel said they’re more “burned out” now than they were a year ago.

Among the conclusions drawn by the firm’s analysts:

  • Workloads for HR teams skyrocketed during the pandemic and are expected to increase further as employees return to the office.
  • As many companies transition to a hybrid workforce model, they seek HR professionals to help them update company policies and procedures, along with health and safety programs.
  • Companies that need additional HR help are seeking both contract and permanent professionals.
  • Skilled HR candidates can be scarce, meaning employers must act quickly and offer more than their competitors in terms of pay and benefits.

The survey also highlighted that new skills are needed among HR staff:

  • Many HR professionals now have hybrid job responsibilities that include administrative and payroll duties.
  • HR job seekers with experience in these areas may have an edge over the competition.

“Job openings are at a record high, and workers with in-demand skills have more negotiating power,” said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald.

“While salary prospects are brighter for 2022, professionals should always do their research before asking for a raise or jumping for an opportunity with higher pay,” McDonald advised. “Many factors contribute to job satisfaction, such as advancement opportunities and schedule flexibility, so it’s important to consider the full picture before making a move.”

Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...