Like the rest of the United States, West Virginia is experiencing a low unemployment rate and a continuing pattern of robust job gains and continuing GDP growth. West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) found that West Virginia’s economy experienced its strongest decade of growth in a decade in 2017, and saw a statewide annual wage increase of 4.2 percent for the year, driven by surging labor demand in the coal, construction, and natural gas sectors.
But the top line numbers are deceptive in West Virginia; recovery has been concentrated in only a few areas within the state, with many counties continuing to lose jobs and population. With continuing uncertainty in the energy market revolving around trade war concerns, corporations in the state are walking a fine line on staffing.
That’s where expert human resources teams come into play. HR salaries have gone up in West Virginia along with other fields because they are a vital part of selecting the right people, training them, and maintaining a lean, flexible workforce capable of handling whatever comes next. West Virginia corporations are willing to pay what it takes to get the right HR staff in place.
Location Considerations for HR Salaries in West Virginia
Due to the unevenly distributed economic growth throughout West Virginia, earning a high salary in human resources in the state, either in management or staff roles, largely revolves around choosing the right location and industry.
According to WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the highest rates of job growth tend to be in the northern half of the state, with population gains (and consequently, labor force size) increasing most in the Eastern Panhandle and North Central West Virginia.
Those factors make Morgantown and Martinsburg among the winners in salary increases and job demand for HR staff.
Human Resources Manager Salaries in West Virginia
An HR manager in West Virginia has to come to the table ready for business, and that usually entails earning a graduate degree in the field somewhere along the way.
The flexibility required to deal with the changing job environment here and to handle sometimes contentious labor issues takes both experience and education, and it’s a combination that employers are willing to pay top dollar to have. Training and development managers, for example, can make as much as $183,410 in the top ten percent of the profession.
Although Charleston is not in one of the areas cited for high growth by the BBER, the robust manager salaries there at the median level come in above those in most of the state.
For HR managers in the state, Morgantown takes top billing in every salary range, from the median to the top ten percent.
Human Resources Specialist and Assistant Salaries in West Virginia
HR specialists and assistants are seeing less of an impact from the overall geographic salary trends in the state, and can make solid salaries in many locations around West Virginia. On the whole, median salary levels are highly divergent among specialties, but once you reach the top 25 percent in almost any category, you can enjoy wages between $60,000 and $70,000 per year in most parts of the state.
Charleston is a bright spot when it comes to salaries for labor relations specialists, who can earn more than $98,000 per year in the top ten percent here.
Here you’ll find the employment level and salary breakdowns for HR specialists and assistants in the Morgantown area:
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_wv.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 West Virginia Department of Commerce 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.