Total compensation for HR managers rose nearly 12% since 2011, according to data PayScale shared with HR Dive that included information from more than 50,000 survey respondents.
The HR skills with the highest positive influence on wage growth were operations management, curriculum planning, change management and strategic project management, according to Sudarshan Sampath, director of research at PayScale. "Anything with a skill that points to a strategic perspective tends to do well," Sampath told HR Dive via email.
This wage growth "speaks to the general growth of companies through the economic expansion we saw from 2011 to 2019," Sampath said. Given that many large companies have grown "exponentially" since the Great Recession, he added "this has led to a lot of new challenges in the HR space."
During the past decade, HR has emerged as a function with much more strategic value than before. A convergence of talent needs combined with a strong economy led to a growing acceptance of the importance of recruiting, engagement and retention.
"We’ve witnessed the rise of talent as a CEO issue," Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner’s HR practice, told HR Dive earlier this year. "Companies are realizing the value of finding great talent and developing it."
The upward trend of increased pay for HR managers holds true when looking at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Compared to 2011, HR managers’ mean annual pay increased from $108,600 to $129,570 in 2019, an increase of almost 20%.
"The demand for HR leaders is largely driven by a more diverse workforce," Sampath said. "Different methods of work and lifestyles, across previously siloed industries, means that there is a need for quality HR professionals to navigate employee issues."
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HR has become even more relevant. Many employer have individuals working remotely while dealing with a whole new set of people concerns including paid leave, healthcare benefits, working parents, remote engagement, virtual interviews and maintaining productivity during a public health emergency.