Employer Branding

HR Jobs Are Changing — And So Are Their Salaries

Over the past decade, HR has evolved immensely. Due to our increased reliance and technology integration, all business aspects are changing, including HR. With this change has come a wave of new HR jobs, such as the Chief People Officer and the emergence of “People teams.” While people are becoming increasingly aware of the presence of People Operations in the HR landscape, what many don’t realize is that these changes are not exclusively changes in title, but are actually changes in responsibility, qualifications, and even salary.

Below, we analyzed some new positions in the “People” function and compared them with their old HR counterparts. We believe that many times people vote with their wallets and that the increased salaries (and responsibilities) of People Operations are indicative of how this function is evolving.

“New HR” vs. “Old HR” Salaries

Executives: Chief Human Resources Officer vs. Chief People Officer

The CPO and CHRO are the top executives of their respective human resources teams. Although both are high earners compared to other members of their teams, an average CPO significantly outearns a CHRO.

Average CPO Salary: $147,228

Average CHRO Salary: $117,762

Senior Management: HR Director vs. Vice President of People Operations

Although both are responsible for overseeing their teams, the duties of an HR Director and a VP of People Operations do vary. Occupying a more strategic and people-focused position, the VP of people operations is more highly compensated than the human resources director.

Average VP of People Operations Salary: $111,894

Average HR Director Salary: $95,866

Middle Management: HR Manager vs. Manager of People Operations

Although they have similar titles, the HR Manager and the Manager of People Operations have quite different salaries, with the newer People Operations position earning almost ten thousand dollars more per year.

Average Manager of People Operations Salary: $82,326

Average HR Manager Salary: $72,626

Operational Management: HR Coordinator vs. People Operations Coordinator

Serving a more operational, entry-level role, both human resource coordinators and people operations coordinators are some of the lower earners of their respective teams, but the people operations position appears to be more profitable.

Average People Operations Coordinator Salary: $53,474

Average HR Coordinator Salary: $43,850

Salary data from LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter.

Salary Difference

The data above clearly shows us that these newer human resources jobs are earning more, but how significant really is this difference? The graph below provides a more concrete visualization of the salary difference between the two groups.

This graph outlines the raw salary difference and the percentage difference in salary at each level of employment. In terms of raw salary difference, the most significant difference is between the wages of the top executives, with a difference of $29,466. The difference between the operational, and entry-level positions is the smallest, with a difference of $9,624.

In terms of percentage difference, the most significant difference again occurs at the executive level with the CPO earning 22.24% more on average than the CHRO. The salaries of those in middle management positions have the lowest percentage difference at 12.52%.

An interesting data point to note is that, despite having the smallest raw salary difference, those in operational positions have the second highest percentage difference, with People Operations Coordinators earning 19.78% more on average than HR Coordinators.

Even more significantly, we found that, on average, these “New HR” jobs earn 17.5% more than their older counterparts. As we’ve now seen in the graphs above, this can translate to many thousand dollars per year.

Why the big difference?

While the data suggests that these newer titles are in fact associated with larger salaries, it seems crazy that a title alone could warrant such different compensation. In reality, it’s not just the new titles that are driving these differences, but rather the new responsibilities and skills associated with these new positions that make them more lucrative.

As technology becomes more fully integrated into all aspects of the workplace, all facets of business have faced change, especially human resources. While previously associated with enforcement of rules and regulations and administrative duties such as payroll, benefits and compensation, and the hiring process HR is becoming a more strategic department overall, relying more on data and analytics to meet employee needs while also working towards business goals.

This shift in the HR landscape is emphasized when we compare job posts for a CPO and a CHRO. For the CHRO, the main responsibilities listed include ensuring compliance with company policy, overseeing sourcing and candidate evaluation, and coordinating training and development programs. On the other hand, the responsibilities for the CPO focus on aligning people strategies with business objectives, developing company culture, and driving employee engagement. The CPO job also seeks candidates with a good analytical approach and business savvy, while the CHRO job lists project management skills as one of the most important determining factors for applicants. As we can see from the comparison of their salaries, the CPO’s new duties correspond to higher pay.

For anyone involved in human resources, these differences in responsibilities and salary are significant to pay attention to. Having a better understanding of how the world of HR is evolving could give you a leg up in the workplace and ultimately help you earn more.

About the author: Phil Strazzulla is passionate about educating the HR ecosystem about everything talent acquisition.  He began his career working in early-stage investing at Bessemer Venture Partners before getting his MBA at Harvard Business School, which lead him to the HR industry.