Large corporations, hospitals and government agencies rely on HR generalists to recruit and hire new employees, select company medical benefits, mediate disputes between workers and coordinate training sessions. Unlike HR specialists, generalists may perform any number of these functions each day. If you want to become an HR generalist, you need at least a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging nearly $60,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
HR generalists earned average annual salaries of $57,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. The minimum educational requirement for this job is typically a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration. Employers may also prefer that you have at least two or more years or experience in human resources. Other essential requirements you'll need for this job are organizational, communication, decision-making and computer skills.
Average annual salaries for HR generalists varied significantly in most of the four U.S. regions in 2013, according to Indeed. In the Midwest, they earned the least in Nebraska and South Dakota and most in Illinois, at $42,000 and $63,000, respectively. Those in Maine and New York made $49,000 to $69,000, respectively, which were the lowest and highest salaries in the Northeast. If you worked as an HR generalist in Hawaii or California, you'd earn an average of $37,000 or $62,000 per year, the lowest and highest earnings in the West. In the South, you'd make the most in Washington, D.C., or least in Louisiana -- $68,000 or $49,000, respectively.
An HR generalist earns more in New York and Washington, D.C., because it's usually more expensive to live in that state or district. If you earned $55,000 as an HR generalist in Portland, Maine, you'd have to make $112,029 in New York City to maintain your living standard, based on CNN Money's "Cost of Living" calculator. In Washington, D.C., you'd have to earn $71,662, or approximately 30 percent more, to enjoy the same living standard as in Portland. HR generalists may also earn more working for larger companies, which typically have more revenue to pay the higher salaries.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't report job statistics for HR generalists. It projects a 13 percent increase in jobs for human resources managers, who may also be generalists, from 2010 to 2020 -- an average growth rate. Jobs for human resource managers and generalists are usually contingent on the economy. If companies expand during the economic recovery during this decade, you'll likely find more job opportunities as an HR generalist. You may find the most available jobs in professional, scientific and technical consulting industries -- and in health care.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: What Human Resources Managers Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Human Resources Manager
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources Managers: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Human Resources Managers
- Indeed: HR Generalist Salary
- CNN Money: Cost of Living: How Far Will My Salary Go In Another City?
- Indeed: HR Generalist Salary in Maine, and New York
- Indeed: HR Generalist Salary in Hawaii, and California
- Indeed: HR Generalist Salary in Louisiana, and Washington, DC
- Indeed: HR Generalist Salary in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Illinois
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images