Virginia has the third-highest number of federal government employees in the nation, with slightly over 177,000 workers, largely centered in the Arlington/Washington D.C. region. While that’s a boon for the economy overall, cushioning the state through downturns and buoying it in periods of expansion, it also made the government shutdown of 2018-2019 something that was felt more in Virginia than virtually anywhere else in the country.
As of late 2018, economists at Old Dominion University found that the state was still working out of the hole created by the shutdown, but with a continued recovery into 2020, the Virginia GDP will grow by 2.6 percent and the unemployment rate is due to drop to 2.7 percent, beating the national average in both those categories.
Jobs with strong workplace protections and benefits, like those with government agencies, take a lot of HR professionals to manage and administer – and the HR professionals doing this work can expect excellent compensation and benefits too.
With a Growing Demand for HR Experts, Salaries Move Higher
Not only do Virginia HR jobs tend to have great benefits, but they also pay far better than the national averages in almost every specialty role. In fact, Virginia is the fifth-best paying state in the country for training and development managers, while the DC/Arlington region, a combined statistical area including much of the Alexandria and Fairfax county area, holds top positions in too many measures of HR salary and employment to list.
With continued demand in both the public and private sector, strong upward pressure on HR salaries is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
Human Resources Manager Salaries in Virginia
The highest paid training and development managers and compensation and benefits managers in Virginia earn salaries that are off the scales for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, exceeding 208,000 per year. HR managers aren’t far behind, with a top rate of $204,910. With an advanced education and the right experience, Virginia is a clear winner for HR professionals with management potential.
In Arlington, all professional categories in HR management pay a median salary of over $140,000.
Virginia Beach doesn’t have any HR manager job classifications with a median salary below $110,000 annually.
Human Resources Specialist and Assistant Salaries in Virginia
The Arlington/Alexandria area has the third-highest concentration of HR specialist jobs in the country and is the fourth-best paying region nationwide… a magic combination that means that not only are there plenty of jobs to go around, but that they also come with top salaries.
Arlington and the Fairfax County area offer great potential for HR staff, who can make $100,000 or more when earning in the top 25 percent of the profession in many roles.
Virginia Beach is also lucrative for HR specialists, with training and development experts here making more than $100,000 annually in the top ten percent.
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm#11-9111. The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and its MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
Job growth projections sourced from the Virginia Employment Commission and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.