Recruiter Is the Hottest Job in HR

Practicing HR in Cleveland pays the most when adjusted for cost for living, Indeed survey finds

By Roy Maurer May 17, 2017
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AUSTIN, TEXAS—As the unemployment rate drops, employers are searching for the best recruiters to find the top talent their companies need.

"Recruiter" is the HR role most in demand over the past two years, according to the title's share of job postings from May 2015 through April 2017 on Indeed, the world's largest job search engine.

Recruiter was followed in demand by:

  • HR manager.
  • HR generalist.
  • HR specialist.
  • Assistant director.
  • HR coordinator.
  • Recruitment manager.
  • Director of HR.
  • HR business partner.
  • Recruiting coordinator.

While recruiters being a hot commodity in today's growing economy may not be surprising, the city where HR jobs pay the most—Cleveland—was unexpected. The cities on the list were ranked by calculating the average hourly salary for HR managers in the U.S. from May 2015 through May 2017 by metro area and adjusting the salaries based on cost of living.

"Usually we see the fastest growing or highest paying areas topping this type of listing," said Paul D'Arcy, senior vice president of marketing for Indeed. "It's an interesting mix of places, with tech centers like San Francisco, Austin and San Jose next to major cities like Chicago, Houston and Atlanta, and a scattering of Midwestern cities like Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, and St. Louis."

The adjusted cost of living works to the advantage of those smaller markets, D'Arcy said. "The cities on the list either have a lower cost of living, or they tend to be higher-growth places but where the supply and demand imbalance has created more demand and higher salaries for those roles, like in Austin and Seattle."

The range of HR salaries among the top 15 locales is relatively narrow, from $80,750 in Cleveland to $71,582 in Chicago, the 15th city on the list.

The entire list of cities where HR jobs pay the most, in descending order:

  1. Cleveland.
  2. Atlanta.
  3. Columbus, Ohio.
  4. Austin.
  5. Boston.
  6. St. Louis.
  7. Seattle.
  8. Kansas City, Mo.
  9. San Francisco.
  10. Portland, Ore.
  11. San Jose, Calif.
  12. Houston.
  13. Detroit.
  14. Madison, Wis.
  15. Chicago.

Internal Satisfaction Thrives Against External Perception

Companies such as Wells Fargo, Kmart and JC Penney, which have been in the news recently for troubled business practices or falling revenues, scored among the best places to work in HR, according to Indeed's employer ratings.

The list was calculated by taking the weighted average of overall ratings submitted by HR employees from May 2015 through April 2017.

The top 10 companies, according to the data results, are:

  • Wells Fargo.
  • Kaiser Permanente.
  • Accenture.
  • Boeing.
  • Kmart.
  • Chick-fil-A.
  • Verizon.
  • The Home Depot.
  • AT&T.
  • UnitedHealth Group.

"It really depends on the culture of the company," said Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed. "Even when the external, consumer perception about a company is not strong or financial results may not be strong, the human connection in which HR feels valued generates these results."

The oft-mentioned tech companies that usually populate a list like this are missing. D'Arcy explained that the list of overall best places to work is well-populated by the companies you'd expect—Salesforce, Facebook and Amazon, but when the data is narrowed to responses from HR professionals only, the vaunted companies don't score as high.

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