Campus & Student Life
CBS International Business School, 10 August 2023

Human Resource Management Salary, Earnings & Influencing Factors


Graduates intending to take a job in human resource management naturally tend to have one burning question. What is a typical HR manager salary for personnel officers or other roles in the profession? That’s understandable. After all, you need to know what you are getting into, and information about salary prospects could be a major influence on your future plans. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the human resources manager salary. We will look at salaries from entry-level positions to future earnings as a senior HR professional. And we will discuss some real life examples to show you what to expect financially in the HR industry.

Study Programmes in English 

Full-time Bachelor's in International Business - Specializing in Human Resource Management.

Full-time Master's in Human Resource Management & Leadership.

Part-time Master's in Human Resource Management & Leadership.

Study Programmes in German

Full-time Bachelor's in Business Administration & Management - Specializing in Business Administration & Human Resource Management.

Dual Bachelor's in General Management - Specializing in Business Psychology & Human Resource Management.

Full-time Master's in Human Resources & Change Management.

Part-time Master's in Human Resources & Change Management.

How high is an HR salary?

As with most professions, we cannot predict exactly how high your HR manager salary will be. The reason for this is simple: Many factors and criteria influence what you earn as a recruiter. This is actually more true in HR than other industries. So the actual salary you receive is slightly unpredictable. However, we can make some solid estimates.

Graduates can expect an HR salary of around 30,000 euros per year after finishing their training. This rises to about 40,000 euros a year after graduation. This is an entry-level HR manager salary and represents an average figure from different areas of the personnel sector. But your human resources salary will rise with professional experience as your career progresses. Eventually, it should be possible to earn up to 50,000 euros or more. But that’s not the end of the story. As in other professions, your HR manager salary will be influenced by location, company size and industry sector. Factors like that determine both your starting salary and maximum possible earnings.

HR professionals who work in management or already have management experience when they enter the profession will earn the most. Ideally, high earners come from related fields. For example, business economists and business psychologists have an advantage when switching to human resources jobs. Qualifications in relevant areas will have an impact on your HR manager salary.

What is the normal starting HR generalist salary after graduation?

Your human resources salary depends on many factors. Predicting initial salaries is difficult. Factors like previous work experience, professional qualifications, and the industrial sector involved all play a role. However, you can expect an entry-level HR salary of 37,000 to 40,000 euros if you are new to the profession and lack work experience.

As with many professions, some entry-level HR managers are better off than others. For example, even in this industry larger companies generally pay a better HR manager salary than smaller businesses. But the location of your company and its industrial sector make a difference. Both factors feed into your initial human resources manager salary and influence your subsequent earning potential.

In which personnel area do you earn the highest HR salary?

There are some jobs and professions in the sector that pay a higher HR salary. Another crucial factor is whether you start your career with an apprenticeship or a degree. Applicants with academic qualifications will almost always have a higher HR manager salary.

University graduates earn the most in human resources management. Personnel officers with degrees earn an average human resources salary of about 46,000 euros per year. This is closely followed by employees in human resources development. They typically earn around 45,000 euros. Personnel consultants earn around 41,000 euros, while trainers in human resources can expect an average salary of about 40,000 euros. At the end of the earnings scale, we find personnel administrators with an annual HR salary of 37,000 euros. Meanwhile, personnel dispatchers will earn approximately 35,000-36,000 euros every year.

What about the HR salary after vocational training in human resources management?

You don’t necessarily require a degree to work as a human resources manager. HR professionals can also complete vocational training to enter the field. In this case, it’s important to note that vocational training has an impact on the final salary. Anyone taking the vocational route should expect to get by with less money than academic degree holders.

If you do start your HR career with an apprenticeship, be aware that some professions in the sector pay more than others. The position with the highest HR manager salary, even for non-academics, is the personnel officer. Salaries of up to 38,000 euros are possible here. However, it is hard to get into this position without a university education and previous experience. Alternatively, candidates might try personnel development. Here, workers with an apprenticeship can expect an HR salary of 36,000-37,000 euros per year. But even at this level, prior work experience is usually needed. As a personnel administrator, you could earn up to 31,000 euros every year without a degree. And between 30,000 and 31,000 euros per year is possible in personnel consulting. At the tail end of the human resources salary scale we find HR trainers. Trainers have to accept an HR salary of around 29,000 euros per year. Personnel planners have a similar earnings level, taking home about 28,000 euros every year.

In which industries can you earn the best HR manager salary?

The size of your human resources manager salary depends in a large part on the industry in which you work and the tasks you perform. HR manager jobs vary a lot in this regard. Furthermore, your salary will be affected by whether you have a degree or a vocational qualification. The table below provides an overview of the top HR salary levels. The first value refers to the salary without a degree. The second value shows the possible human resources salary with an academic degree.


As in most professionals, the industrial sector influences how much you can earn as a recruiter. Some industries traditionally pay a higher HR generalist salary than others. The following table provides some figures that show which industries offer the highest HR manager salary.


Factors influencing an HR manager salary

Many factors can have an influence on your human resources salary. Some of these are obvious. For example, whether you start your career with a degree or vocational training. Others are less obvious. In this section you will learn about the factors that can influence an HR salary.

The size of the company

Like most professional sectors, the size of the company plays an important role in determining an HR salary. As a general rule, the bigger the company, the more money you receive. The reason for this is actually quite easy to understand. Larger companies demand more from their employees and usually give them more work. So if you really want to earn a high HR manager salary, you should pay attention to the size of the company. The difference is not earth-shattering. But you can expect variations of 1,000-3,000 euros per year.

Levels of professional experience

This point should not come as a big surprise. Any work experience you bring with you when you start will play a role in your HR salary. As a rule, newcomers who already have three to five years of relevant experience will earn up to 5,000 euros more every year. This also applies to holders of degrees in related management positions such as business psychology.

Your level of responsibility

How much responsibility you assume will also affect your human resources manager salary. The greater the responsibility, the higher your salary. Differences of 1,000-3,000 euros per year are common. However, getting into positions of elevated responsibility isn’t always easy.

Location and regional differences

Company location plays an important role in determining the size of your HR manager salary. Human resources managers earn the most in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The average salary in those states is up to 2,000 euros higher than elsewhere. But the earning opportunities in Hamburg are also very good. On the other hand, HR salary prospects in the new federal states and Schleswig-Holstein are less promising. These areas appear in the lowest categories of contemporary salary comparisons.

Academic degree

Even if an academic degree isn’t essential for a career in human resources management, it will certainly have a positive effect on your human resources salary. With a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, you can earn up to 5,000 euros more per year compared to vocational training. Earnings can rise even more with a diploma or a doctorate. If you want to make a career and maximise your earnings, university study is a good option. This is especially true for younger professionals.

Sector-specific differences

Sector-specific differences also have a big influence on a human resources manager salary. In this case, the industry you work in is all-important. As an employee in the petroleum industry or with an energy company, you can easily earn a few thousand euros more per year. On the other hand, some of the lowest HR salaries can be found in the IT sector.

Graduates with a human resources management degree will have a wide range of career opportunities. Find out here which professions in human resources management are suitable for you, and what you can expect from each job.

Conclusion and summary

As you can see by now, there are quite good earning opportunities in the human resources sector. But we’ve also seen that a variety of factors affect a human resources management salary. Work experience, whether you have obtained a degree, company sector and size, and even company location all make a difference. However, HR is an interesting profession where the focus is always on people. And the sector offers many fulfilling opportunities. Another advantage is that you can start without a degree, even if you will naturally have better earning potential as an academic.

In any case, HR is a varied and engaging profession. Qualified HR managers are in high demand, and the sector offers no shortage of career and promotion opportunities.

Looking for a suitable Human Resources Management degree programme?

Did the human resources salary convince you? Are you interested in a career in human resources management and do you want to find the ideal degree programme? At CBS we offer two study programmes for the HR industry. Find more information about the degree programme and details about course requirements on our Human Resource Management degree programme pillar page.

CBS International Business School

CBS International Business School is a state-recognised private university of applied sciences for business. We offer accredited Bachelor's, Master's and MBA degree programmes in German and English on a full-time or part-time basis. Throughout Germany, the university is represented at three locations in Cologne, Mainz, and Potsdam.

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