HR Specialist Salary Information (2024)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Find out the skills, education, and experience necessary to be an HR specialist. Learn about entry-level pay or how to boost your HR specialist salary.

[Featured image] An HR specialist is in a conference room with their coworkers.

If you're hoping to become a human resources (HR) specialist or are currently employed as one, it's helpful to have up-to-date salary information. The HR field focuses on employees, the lifeblood of any company. HR specialists handle specific areas of human resources like:

  • Compensation and benefits

  • Health and safety

  • Labor relations

  • Recruitment

  • Risk management

  • Training and development

Understanding salary information can help you decide if you want to pursue a job as an HR specialist or in a similar area. Knowing how to boost your current income is beneficial if you're already working as an HR specialist. 

How much does an HR specialist make in Canada?

According to Glassdoor, Canadian HR specialists make a median base salary of $68,672 with $5,081 of additional pay, such as overtime, bonuses, and more, as of April 2024 [1]. The total compensation for human resources specialists ranges from $50,000 to $81,000.

Factors that affect salary

Several factors can affect your HR specialist salary, including your education, experience, location, industry, and company size.

Education level

Across all fields, education level impacts your annual salary. If you have a bachelor's degree, you'll probably earn a higher salary than an HR specialist without one. A master's degree may boost your salary even higher. Getting HR-specific professional certificates may also help raise your annual salary. 

Years of experience in HR or a related field

Your earnings also depend on your work experience. For instance, if you've worked as an HR specialist for five years, you'll likely have a higher salary than someone who just started. This is because you have more knowledge of the role, making you a more desirable employee. 


HR specialist jobs may also pay more in some parts of the country than elsewhere. An important factor that affects wages between locations is the cost of living. For instance, in some provinces or cities, housing, groceries, education, taxes, and entertainment costs are higher than in others, and your salary may reflect that. 


As an HR specialist, your industry can affect your annual salary. Factors that can differ from one sector to another include:

  • Customers or clients

  • Training requirements

  • Working conditions

  • Work setting

Company size and number of people you manage

Larger companies generally have more employee salaries and benefits resources than smaller ones. Your annual salary may also likely be higher if you manage 100 employees instead of 20. If you work for a large company, you might also have more chances for advancement than at a smaller company. 

Salaries of other jobs in HR 

Whether you currently work as an HR specialist or hope to do so, having possible career paths in mind is helpful. Check out these three examples of jobs and salaries you may want to aim for in the future:

1. HR manager

As an HR manager, you have a broader range of duties than an HR specialist. You'll oversee various HR programs involving employees, such as:

  • Compensation and benefits

  • Employee relations

  • Employee performance

  • Health and safety

  • Recruitment and hiring 

  • Training and development

Ideally, you would hold a master's degree in human resources or a related subject to be an HR manager. Special skills for this position include communicating well with others, quick decision-making, and good organizational skills. 

As of April 2024, HR managers across Canada earned a total of $66,000 to $97,000 [2]. The average base salary for a human resources manager in Canada is $88,733, and additional pay is $8,749. 

2. Training and development manager

As a training and development manager, you’re in charge of training programs, training staff, and the training budget for an HR department. Some of your daily tasks might include:

  • Consulting with department managers to identify training needs

  • Developing and implementing training from start to finish

  • Choosing training venues and materials

  • Collaborating with training experts and mentors

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of training programs

  • Updating training programs and manuals if needed

To be a training and development manager, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in human resources, business management, secondary education, or organizational psychology. Special skills you might need for this job include leadership, comfort speaking to large audiences, problem-solving abilities, and a knack for working well under pressure. 

As of April 2024, training and development specialists earn an average annual wage of $66,655 and additional pay of $3,543 [3]. 

3. Compensation and benefits manager

You’re responsible for all employee payroll and benefits programs as a compensation and benefits manager. Some of your day-to-day duties might include:

  • Overseeing the administration of payroll

  • Supervising the administration of employee benefits, including wellness programs, insurance, retirement, and leave

  • Tracking data to ensure pay rates and benefit packages are competitive with similar companies in the same area

  • Monitoring government regulations regarding pay and benefits programs

To become a compensation and benefits manager, you'll need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, finance, or labour relations and, ideally, a few years of experience working in payroll or benefits administration. 

Special skills that can help you in this job include knowledge of computer spreadsheet software, attention to detail, and good communication skills. 

Compensation and benefits managers in Canada make an average annual salary of $108,027 with additional pay of $13,256 [4].

Ways to increase salary as a human resources specialist

While your HR specialist job description might call for certain levels of education and experience, you have many ways to boost your salary once you're working.

Get an HR certification.

HR certifications help build on the knowledge and skills you need to perform your job or climb the career ladder. You can find certifications for people just starting in the field, mid-level professionals, and HR managers working in multinational companies. For 45 years, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI ) has provided certifications like:

  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)

While the aPHR certification does not require a specific degree or work experience, the other certifications require more education and work experience. 

Consider a master's degree.

If you're aiming for a top-level HR position, such as HR director or vice president of HR, a master's degree can help you outshine other candidates. It can also help you earn a higher salary in a mid-level HR position. 

To land your dream job or boost your salary, consider a master's degree in one of these fields of study:

  • Human resource management

  • Business administration

  • Economics

  • Finance

  • Marketing 

  • Organizational psychology

Many master's degree programs offer online courses so you can work and earn your degree simultaneously. Depending on your circumstances, you can expect to spend one to three years obtaining a master's degree. 

Improve your skill set.

In virtually every career, more skills means more money. To improve your HR skill set, take a class online or through a community college or university. Consider building your human resources skills with a corporate coaching or employee engagement class. 

Brush up on your technical skills with a class in structured query language (SQL). Companies use this language to build and maintain databases, which is essential to many HR departments. 

If you find a class that may help you become a more valuable employee, consider asking your employer to pay for it. Your company may even decide to sponsor a group of employees.  

Ask for more responsibility.

One way to learn new skills is to ask for more responsibility at work. Not only will you gain more HR-related knowledge, but you may increase your salary. You'll be a more marketable employee and may get noticed by your company.

Research similar positions in your area or industry. 

If you're looking to raise your salary, do some research. Check local job boards or use a Google search to show you comparable jobs in your area and how much industries are paying. You may find your pay is competitive or be able to use the new information to negotiate a raise. Hiring and training employees cost money, so employers generally won't want to let employees leave over a moderate pay increase. 

Next steps

If you're considering a career as an HR specialist, you might want to take an online class, such as the University of California, Irvine’s Hiring Practices on Coursera. This class can give you an idea of what to expect when working in an HR department. If you're an HR specialist aiming for more money or a promotion, you might want to pursue the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s  Master of Business Administration program on Coursera. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. “Salary: Human Resources Specialist,,6_IN3_KO7,33.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed April 17, 2024.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.