HR Salaries... WTF

Intern in IB - Ind

Something came across my LinkedIn newsfeed giving the average salaries for HR people, and basically the breakdown is something like this:

Campus recruiter -70k
HR manager- 100k
HR director -140k

Is it just me or is this much higher than expected? I would've guessed a campus recruiter right out of college would make like 40k? HR is literally the easiest job in the world and I think of it as the job that people who had degrees in English, or 17th century French art, or theater or music have...

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Comments (91)

May 4, 2020

Banking isn't exactly rocket science either, and people with the degrees you mentioned also work in the front office.

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  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
May 4, 2020

You'll be even more mind blown when you find out top hr people at hedge funds can clear 500k

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May 4, 2020

What the fuck lol?

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

May 4, 2020

I chose the wrong profession clearly

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May 5, 2020

We hired a new sub line of business CFO to run a product line and during my internship we were cleaning out some data rooms. Found out they paid a HH about $500k to find the person + commission.

  • Analyst 2 in HF - EquityHedge
May 6, 2020

It shouldn't surprise you. This business is all about human talent. Talent retention is also big part of this kind of HR role. You will be surprised too see how top PMs are completely clueless on how to deal with people.

May 10, 2020
Analyst 1 in S&T - Other:

You'll be even more mind blown when you find out top hr people at hedge funds can clear 500k

Wait until he finds out what an NFL GM is paid.

Funniest
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 4, 2020

People in other white collar jobs make a living? SHOCK and HORROR. Oh the fucking calamity of the world.

If you think those numbers are wack, you'll be floored when you see what HR folks and recruiters get at top tech companies...

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Most Helpful
May 4, 2020

You don't truly understand the value of great HR people until you've done two things:

  1. managed a business and tried to build a team (i.e., had to do some of their work)
  2. worked in an environment with shit HR or no HR (i.e., had to suffer the absence of their work)

Human capital is a huge part of the investment banking business and less than $200k (including benefits) for director-level people to help manage the firm's portfolio and pipeline of humans is honestly not bad at all for a global financial institution. The reason banks pay this is because, well, they can afford it and, on balance, they are generally hiring people that can actually do the job really well. If they can pay HR people to do it, then it keeps their money-earning assets (the bankers) focused on the work that actually pulls in revenue.

Just to become an investment banking Analyst:

  • you apply through a highly structured recruiting process, often involving directly managed relationships with a university (if you're at a target school) and sometimes even a coordinated on-campus visit by the local rainmaker
  • your resume is selected from a bottomless pile of other qualified applicants who also have to get reviewed and then you go through a shitload of communications and scheduling, then are flown in for a super day - where all the employees are perfectly orchestrated to interview you, have a copy of your resume, have a structured decision process, etc.
  • you get the job and are then flown in for training, put up at a hotel, get a bunch of super structured on-boarding printouts that someone had to take the time to write with literally all the info you will ever need, you get presentations from each of the corporate functions, and a dedicated training course from a third party that was thoroughly vetted beforehand
  • you then start the job and your direct deposit works perfectly, your 401k is setup seamlessly, and your expense policy is super clearly defined

The entire process goes off without a hitch and it's so good you don't even realize all the insane fucking work that went into it - but that's all HR, you don't notice it because they are just fucking good.

By the way... that's just for you, you're in a class of at least 50+ other junior bankers who all got taken care of the same way, often with even more HR work for shit like working visas, healthcare edge cases, etc.

Also, this is just the work that goes into the standard junior onboarding process, there are a bunch of other fucking headaches that you just wouldn't want to deal with as an executive and you get the privilege of paying other people to just deal with it instead. If a banker had to do all that bullshit then it would distract them from actually pulling in revenue - I'm sure we can find a VP at an upstart boutique bank somewhere here on WSO that has had to do this shit because of lack of HR, it probably fucking sucked.

Except at corporates and other professional service firms (where HR people pull in similar figures, if not more), the rest of the business world just doesn't get to partake in this level of support. Having someone that literally just does all the work to build a team for you is just pure opulence and investment banks can afford it.

"Millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do"

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May 4, 2020

The lady doth protest too much.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 5, 2020

Swing and a miss champ, take a lap

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May 4, 2020

Is $140K at the director level supposed to be high? This topic is trash.

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May 4, 2020

Also trashes English, art, theater, and music degrees... OP, where are you going to spend your money if your society has no culture or history?

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May 4, 2020

So your defense of HR is that it employs people who are overflow for other areas where society didn't have enough need for that many history/art/theatre majors.

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May 10, 2020

The US already lacks content in both departments

Si vis pacem, para bellum

May 4, 2020

Stop counting others pockets. How does that affect you?

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 5, 2020

Inflation XD

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May 4, 2020

I know you aren't asking for advice but I'll give it anyway.

First let me start by saying I agree with nouveau Richie. Good HR departments and professionals are great and very valuable. The amount of time they save me and others is huge, and they are finding top talent, and in fields where there is a ton of competition for top talent this is worth a lot.

As for advice, you should check your attitude. An elitist attitude (as you seem to have based on this post) is going to get you crushed in the "real world".

First, don't worry about what others get paid (unless you think you might want to do the job or you have enough view into value to the firm and manage the budget), it is going to bother you so much and unless you have enough visibility into the value of the role you will be wasting time. Good recruiters at top firms make significantly more than you quoted, if that upsets you maybe you should switch careers?

A large financial firm is a complicated system. You may feel good about building models, but as has been pointed out the company as a whole doesn't work without all the pieces moving well together. You have to understand that many of these jobs aren't "easy" they are different. They require different abilities, I would probably fail at an HR role, and many people in HR would fail in mine, so to me that job is harder (for me personally).

If sh**ing on people motivates you it will be a lonely time in finance.

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 4, 2020

I think the problem is you can't really fail in a HR role.

May 4, 2020

You definitely can and people do, it is harder to fail in some cases but I have seen 2 senior HR employees fired for poor performance. It all depends on the organization, but I have found organizations where HR people aren't fired that is also generally true across the board (analysts are hard to fire as well). When you look across the board it is pretty hard to get fired as a junior employee at most of these places (and generally analysts leave after a couple years anyway). So I wouldn't really agree with you.

The ceiling is also lower in many of these jobs, so in those cases the expectations of value out of the employee are lower.

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Controversial
May 4, 2020

Those salaries are fine but a little surprised to see the full-throated defense of HR in the comments.

Steve Jobs famously said all HR people suck. I've only seen him proven right in my experience.

HR (along with risk, compliance and other hall monitor type roles) mostly exists to bother you with stupid bullshit because the individuals are on a power trip and aren't personally incentivized by the firm's bottom line. They're a necessary evil and destroy value when allowed to grow beyond necessary.

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May 5, 2020

I struggle to come up with even one good HR person in my experience. I'd really like to prove Jobs wrong, if nothing else to be a contrarian. But I just can't think of a single decent HR person that I've ever encountered. Nope. Still can't. Damn...

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May 5, 2020
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

Those salaries are fine but a little surprised to see the full-throated defense of HR in the comments.

Steve Jobs famously said all HR people suck. I've only seen him proven right in my experience.

HR (along with risk, compliance and other hall monitor type roles) mostly exists to bother you with stupid bullshit because the individuals are on a power trip and aren't personally incentivized by the firm's bottom line. They're a necessary evil and destroy value when allowed to grow beyond necessary.

Right, all those pesky risk management people. They're useless, because who could ever imagine that a financial institution would ever lose track of where all their risky loans/investments/etc were going? I mean, it's barely even within the scope of comprehension that something like that could happen, it might even, I don't know, cause a domino effect which threatened to bring down multiple major institutions, causing a global panic and then recession, all because the misaligned compensation incentive structure for the non-risk/compliance/HR people encouraged awful risk management...

All of these jobs "suck" because they exist to stop you from making shitty decisions. They work for the company, and not for you, and while it's hard for the average underage, egotistical idiot on this site to realize this, your employer doesn't exist solely to pay you and give you an opportunity to advance.

When your creepy colleague drunkenly assaults a female executive assistant? HR and their "useless" training help protect the company from liability. When the loan originator wants to give out 15 billion in shit debt because it means he makes an extra $15mm bonus? Risk and credit are there to put the brakes on that, because it means that three years from now no one gets paid when the firm has to dig out of that hole.

And the compliance department... if you knew the number of rules and regulations that need to be followed to run even the simplest business, you'd stop complaining.

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May 5, 2020

Compliance takes the existing laws and adds 10x the rules on top of it to keep themselves relevant. I think most people know this, amazing that some don't.

Ari Spyros is the embodiment of what most people think about compliance.

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May 5, 2020

Always enjoyed reading your contributions @Ozymandia" , people do not fully well understand the role HR and Compliance deals with on a daily basis.

+1 SB

No pain no game.

  • Intern in CorpDev
May 5, 2020

HR is not a difficult job to do. It is mildly surprising to me that HR is getting such a spirited defense from people on this forum when I've seen people shitting on and complaining about them all the time.

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May 5, 2020

Not difficult to do at all. Possibly unpleasant. I don't think I'd want the job. I'd feel like the toothless gear in the machinery of society.

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May 5, 2020

I think the most spirited defense came from someone working in HR. Or some other support role that would be biased to defend HR. What's surprising is how many people fell for that nonsense and upvoted it

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May 5, 2020

My firm even has HR Quants who do people analytics.... also no one can live on 40k in NY. I would hope our people get paid more than that

  • Business School in PE - LBOs
May 6, 2020

Doesn't matter what people can or can't live on. You pay equal to or less than the value you think you get and the market either accepts that amount or does not.

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May 6, 2020

We don't have to throw MS at each other, but I respectfully disagree. If you hire people at market and they can't make a living you will have the same people problems HR is trying to solve in the first place

May 5, 2020

It is interesting to me how many people cannot separate their personal annoyance with HR, or a specific individual who works in HR, with HR's value to a company or business owner.

Are entry level HR workers the best and brightest? Of course not, but it's amusing to assume entry level investment banking analysts are either.

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May 5, 2020
CRE:

It is interesting to me how many people cannot separate their personal annoyance with HR, or a specific individual who works in HR, with HR's value to a company or business owner.

Because most people are selfish idiots who don't understand the basic idea that the world does not work around them, and that the answer they didn't want to hear from HR serves a purpose beyond just "negative value to the company."

Are entry level HR workers the best and brightest? Of course not, but it's amusing to assume entry level investment banking analysts are either.

I'd argue your average entry level HR worker has more responsibility laid on them than an incoming analyst.

At the end of the day, most people on this site want to feel like they're better and smarter than most people engaged in non-finance-related fields, and because this is a banking forum, the only possible basis of comparison they have is salary. It's a blow to the ego when you realize that the person who didn't go to Wharton and doesn't work in Excel all day might make half of what a "master of the universe" does. Implies that maybe your average 24 year old investment banking analyst isn't somehow much "better" than the personal processing their payroll.

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May 5, 2020

I'm getting a theater degree and working in the front office. Theater is highly competitive, has grueling hours, involves tireless networking, and requires great presentation skills. Translates pretty well to front office work in my opinion.

May 5, 2020

HR people are corporate employees. They are compensated as such. Do you honestly believe someone in the middle of their career doesn't deserve the same compensation as a 21 year-old first-year IB Analyst?

Do you realize how little amount of money $140K is in huge parts of this country?

This is an entirely appropriate level of compensation.

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May 5, 2020

The most insane part of this post is the fact that you think those numbers are high...

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  • Intern in CorpDev
May 5, 2020

Do you know how many college jobs fail to pay 70k post graduation? You know a nurse working 60 hours a week makes ~60k right? it's not surprising to you that a recruiter right out of undergrad makes more than that?

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May 5, 2020

No. Because any recruiter making 70K out of undergrad is working for a BB in a high cost of living area. A nurse in the same HCOL area makes closer to 90k with OT. Entry level recruiter jobs out of college in a non-HCOL area pay closer to 55k, which is still under that 60k number for an entry level nurse exclusive of OT.

May 5, 2020

I think it's funny that a bunch of 22 year olds are commenting that those are low salaries. Outside of like 5 major metros in the US, those ARE high salaries. Remember that the average household income is like 60k. Then again, this is also the same community where people were hating on accountants because they weren't bankers.

With that being said, I worked with a lot of HR professionals in my early career, and the difference between good HR experience is night and day. The good ones do save the company money and actually know how to do their jobs. Unlike finance though, they can't hide behind technical language when they don't understand something because HR is relatively easy to comprehend.

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May 5, 2020

Stop being cute. If your state touches water, which encompasses more than 50% of Americans, these are squarely middle class salaries.

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May 5, 2020

Assuming it's the only income for a household, sure.

WSO showing how out of touch it is with the average population as usual lol.

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  • Analyst 1 in Other
May 5, 2020

There is no way entry level HR is pulling in 70k outside of HCOL areas so lets not go there.

May 5, 2020

A campus recruiter isn't necessarily entry level.

May 6, 2020

Roger, funny to see you here offering your opinion on HR while bagging Joan in your spare time. Proper PR tactic by you tho.

God you could hang a bike on that rack...

May 5, 2020

I have a few friends within the industry. Some work for recruiting firms (they start at $80k + performance bonus), but they are dealing with many startup companies for highly specialized technical roles.

Finding good HR people is tough, there is no question about that. The amount of information they deal with on a daily basis would make a lot of people's heads spin. They deal with everything from complaints from management to employees, along with protecting the company from liability should or when an employee gets injured/harassed.

They earn their salary. I would not go as far as say that their jobs are easy, though. It is an important aspect in business.

No pain no game.

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  • Intern in CorpDev
May 5, 2020

70k our of ungrad would likely make HR pay higher than ~90% of positions. Is this not surprising to people? An entry level HR person makes the same or more than a big 4 accountant working 80 hour weeks, a nurse, people working in scientific research etc. People here are just used to seeing huge FO salaries like IB HF PE etc, and fail to realize that 70k for a recruiter is an obscene amount of money compared to overall society.

May 5, 2020

As much as I enjoy dissing HR as a field of study, I don't agree that it's entirely irrelevant. Banks depend on the talent brought in by HR. Wouldn't you want someone else to worry about that stuff so you can focus on doing your job well?
Also senior management is not dumb, they are fully aware of how valuable HR is and so they're compensated adequately. And god knows the damage poor talent and lack of compliance can do to companies.

May 5, 2020

Senior management is often dumb. Give it time, you'll see soon enough.

Corporate bureacracy is a beast that gets tough for the C-level to control if they aren't great. Most CEOs are more focused on top line than cost control. The department head (HR, compliance, IT, etc etc) has his own agenda that isn't a bottom line agenda. Its better for the dept head's career to grow the list of problems so he can grow the empire of solutions. Yields a bigger budget, more marketable resume and (paradoxically) higher pay. Piss on the CEO's head and tell him its raining so you can sell him an umbrella. That's the play.

That's not to say an individual in HR isn't a smart person who can add value. But the organizational bloat is a routine problem.

May 5, 2020

Lol you guys are surprised how much HR gets paid?? Wait until you find out how much Port Authority Cops, & New York/New Jersey State Troopers get paid. Idk why people on this forum are surprised there are other high paying professions. There are security guards in Kosovo rn making 200k to just chill at a guard post.

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May 6, 2020

Lmao speaking of cops, the average pay for police officers in my town is 200k. For teachers, 140k and superintendent makes 320k. Our town is pretty upper middle class but that's insane. The nassau county police (which also has jurisdiction over my area in addition to town police) have this and you only need 1yr of college to join:
$35,000 starting salary
$121,659 after 9 years (Average compensation after 9 years: $120,000 to $130,000)
Education incentive pay
Up to 12% shift differential
10 paid holidays annually for the first two years, increasing to 12;
15 paid vacation days to start, increasing to 30 days after 15 years of service;
18 sick days to start, increasing to 26 days after one year of service;
5 personal days;
Contributory and Non-Contributory Health Plan; Dental and Vision benefits;
20 year contributory pension plan;
Tax-deferred savings plan.

LIRR conductors (the people who look at your tickets) make average 90-100k after 5 yrs on the job. 14 people at the central islip school district make over 400k a year even though only 35% of their high school plans to go to 4 yr college. Most public sector employees in the US are underpaid but there's some fucked up shit going on in the NY metro area. There's much more real problems than HR people at a major bank making solid wages.

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May 6, 2020

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May 6, 2020

You're really this upset about people making a good livable wage? No wonder income inequality is only rising.

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May 6, 2020

I find it interesting how there is so much complaint of things like HR salaries, but there appears to be zero introspection as to how many front office people both buy and sell side are grossly overpaid and don't perform. Then again maybe it's because on this board we all strive to be one of those.

I get it. I too, have had few, if any, good HR experiences - but realize it's an essential function that can make a night and day difference. HR can suck. Truth.

BUT (here comes the rant) all of those PE funds that are not better than median? That's literally half of them, they don't beat stocks (Ie. nearly free indices) much or most of the time. Or all of those hedge funds, so many of which start, maybe get some traction but then die quietly (after guys running them rake in nice personal comp...) This is conveniently ignoring all of the blowups that often grow into such scale, take in fees, blow up/massively underperform and are then given "second chances" by institutions to " reset" or " go back to their roots" after having clipped elevated fees in previous years... many don't beat or meet whatever index (often manufactured or of their peers) performance or sharpe etc.

How about most good old LO mutual funds that charge huge fees to essentially buy and hold whatever stocks (often index hugging) and then criminally underperform on the up and downsides vs whatever their benchmark is, not to mention said nearly free indices.

I'll stop there but I haven't even gotten to the often grossly overpaid capital raisers, marketers, coverage bankers etc who trade on the name of their institution or the odd strike of luck to get business done and rake it in rather than by any special skill of their own aside from just being there. Get caught out? Just switch companies, spin it, and/or politic your way around it.

That's the market. One may say that many accept that this what people in finance do and are happy to pay the price even if it rips off the general public. But the market is clearly also willing to pay some HR person a few hundred K. Let's accept it and move on.

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May 6, 2020

Chubby chaser here, or am I on the wrong forum?

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May 6, 2020

heritage think tank president 900k-1.2m

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May 7, 2020

Is that what she pulls down? Nice payday. Tough job though, those donors want a fair amount of attention and allegiance.

May 8, 2020
Comment
May 9, 2020