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HR Jobs Are Changing– And So Are Their Salaries

The new wave of People Operations professionals are doing more strategic work than HR...

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
February 21, 2022
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HR has evolved immensely over the past decade. Due to our increased reliance and integration of technology, every part of a business is changing, and that includes HR. With this change has come a wave of new HR jobs, such as the Chief People Officer and the emergence of “People teams.” Rebranded and refreshed, these are not merely title changes, but changes in responsibility, qualifications, and even salary.

Below, we investigated some of the new positions in the “People” function, and compare 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 is indicative of how this function is evolving. This article was originally published in 2019, but we have now updated it with salaries and data from 2022.

Comparison of “New HR” and “Old HR” Salaries

Salary of people jobs compared to HR jobs

Chief Human Resources Officer vs. Chief People Officer

Average CPO Salary: $209,938

Average CHRO Salary: $170,311

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

Head of HR vs. Head of People Operations

Average Head of People Operations Salary: $136,458

Average Head of HR Salary: $123,025

While both are responsible for overseeing their teams, an Head of HR and a Head of People Operations have a few different responsibilities. Occupying a more strategic and people-focused position, the Head of People Operations is more highly compensated than the Head of Human Resources.

HR Manager vs. People Operations Manager

Average People Operations Manager Salary: $91,308

Average HR Manager Salary: $82,521

Despite the similarity of their titles, the HR Manager and the Manager of People Operations have quite different salaries, with the newer Manager of People Operations earning a couple of thousand dollars more per year.

HR Coordinator vs. People Operations Coordinator

Average People Operations Coordinator Salary: $56,563

Average HR Coordinator Salary: $47,839

Typically occupying more administrative, entry-level role, both human resource coordinators and people operations coordinators are some of the lower earners of their respective teams.

Salary Difference

From the data above, it is easy to see 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.

The graph traces the raw difference in salary and how much more new positions are earning on average percentage-wise. In terms of raw salary difference, the most significant difference is between the salaries of the top executives, with a difference of $39,627. The smallest raw salary difference is between the operational, entry-level positions which have a difference of $8,724.

In terms of percentage difference, the greatest difference is among executives with the CPO earning 23.26% more on average than the CHRO. The salaries of those in middle management positions have the lowest percentage difference at 10.6%.

Despite having the smallest raw salary difference, those in operational positions have the second highest percentage difference with People Operations Coordinators earning 18.23% more on average than HR Coordinators.

On average, these “New HR” jobs are earning 15.75% more than their older counterparts. As we’ve now seen in the graphs above, this can translate to many thousand dollars per year.

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Why the big difference?

While these newer titles do seem to be 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 are causing them to earn more.

As technology becomes more fully integrated in all aspects of the workplace, all aspects 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.

We can see these changes emphasized when we compare a 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. For the CPO on the other hand, responsibilities focus on aligning people strategies with business objectives, developing company culture, and driving employee engagement. The CPO job also looks for candidates who have a good analytical approach and business savvy while the CHRO job lists project management skills as one of its most important determinants. As we can see from the comparison of their salaries, CPO’s new duties correspond to higher pay.

For anyone involved human resources, these differences in both 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 and ultimately help you earn more.

If you're interested in seeing what kind of new, cutting edge HR roles are out there, check out our People job board. You'll find open roles, job descriptions, links to apply, and more.

Latest jobs from SSR's PeopleOps Job Board

Data for this post was aggregated from LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams to find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. Phil started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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