With a median of $84,200 in annual wages, human resource manager was the 36th highest paying occupation in the United States in 2005, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The median annual wages for HR managers were lower than those of:
- Pharmacists ($89,800),
- Physicists ($89,800),
- Nuclear engineers ($88,300),
- Optometrists ($88,000),
- Sales managers ($87,600), and
- Financial managers ($86,300).
However, HR managers earned higher median wages than:
- Aerospace engineers ($84,100),
- Political scientists ($84,100),
- Physical scientists ($83,300), and
- Computer systems software engineers ($82,100).
The jobs with the highest median wages were anesthesiologists, general internists, obstetricians, oral surgeons, orthodontists, prosthodontists, and psychiatrists. All of these jobs have median annual wages of more than $145,600.
The bureau's wage data are from 2005. In January 2007, the median annual salary for HR managers was $87,105, according to Compensation.BLR.com's Salary Center.
A recent poll question on Compensation.BLR.com asked whether HR should be one of the 25 highest paying jobs. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said "yes." The poll had more than 500 respondents.