PayScale Study Highlights Value of the PHR and SHPR: Career Momentum and Higher Salaries

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Positive impact of credentials seen across industries and geographies

PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, today announced new research that quantifies the impact of gaining HR professional certification. The research is summarized in a whitepaper entitled Worth It? The Value of the PHR and SPHR. Tapping its largest in the world database of more than 35 million profiles and 250 compensable factors, PayScale analyzed vari¬ous aspects of Human Resources (HR) positions, comparing results for professionals with and with¬out a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification granted by the HR Certification Institute, an affiliate of SHRM, The Society for Human Resource Management.

The data shows that Human Resources professionals who hold the PHR and SPHR designations move up the career ladder faster and make more money than those who lack the certification. This pattern holds across all industries as well as the largest metropolitan areas.

“In a rapidly evolving job market, continuing to build your skills in a demonstrable way makes you more valuable to employers,” said Tim Low, Vice President of Marketing, PayScale. “An analysis of our data shows that the PHR and SPHR certifications represent a valuable credential for HR professionals in 2012,” added Low.

Report Highlights

Job Progression: Holding the PHR or SPHR provides a powerful boost to career momentum. With either certification, HR professionals are more likely to advance to more senior roles. PayScale examined data on the career paths of HR professionals, in particular the frequency with which their job title changed over a period of five years. They next compared the rates of promotion for those with either certification against those who held neither certification. PayScale’s analysts concluded that professionals with either the PHR or SPHR attain pro­motion more frequently and move into higher positions more often than those without either certification.

Frequency By Company Size: While not a major factor, company size does play role in whether or not HR professionals hold a PHR or SPHR certification. PayScale found that HR professionals with either certification are more likely to work at larger companies than at smaller companies. The slight decrease for the largest of companies may be tied to the fact that junior staff, which as we saw are less likely to hold a certification, make up a larger share of total staff.

Pay Comparison by Metro Area: Wherever the location, the PHR and SPHR certifications boost the pay of those that hold them. PayScale looked at the ten largest metros in the country and found that those with certifications have a higher median pay than those without one. The top three cities included: New York City ($73,800.00 with vs. $56, 300.00 without); Los Angeles ($77,600.00 with vs. $51,400.00 without); and Chicago ($68,000.00 with vs. $47,900.00 without).

Pay Comparison by Industry: PayScale examined the pay for HR professionals as a whole, across different industries and found that, once again, those workers with a PHR or SPHR earned more than those without. Industry findings included: Manufacturing ($63,200.00 with vs $47,000.00 without); Healthcare and Social Assistance ($59,300.00 with vs. $40,500.00 without); Retail ($65,600.00 with vs. $46,200.00 without); Construction ($66,400.00 with vs. $46,000.00 without); and Finance and Insurance ($67,500.00 with vs. $49,700.00 without).

PayScale Lead Economist, Katie Bardaro commented “in today’s job economy, it’s not just education that determines market value for an employee but a mix of what PayScale calls ‘compensible factors.’ One of these factors is professional certifications.”

PayScale at SHRM

PayScale ‘s Stacey Carroll, Director of Customer Service & Education, will lead two sessions at SHRM.

June 25 at 10:45am EST, Carroll will discuss the dynamics between Compliance and Human Resources. This session will focus on how take a proactive and strategic role in securing the appropriate resources for compensation increases while achieving the talent management objectives in a fiscally sound manner.

June 26 at 2:15pm EST, Carroll will discuss 10 basic analyses that leading companies conduct once they have compensation data. Carroll will discuss how to select sources, match jobs and get market data that can serve as building blocks to a successful compensation plan.

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative search and query algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale IndexTM, PayScale's subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate TM and PayScale Insight TM. Among PayScale's 2,200 corporate customers are organizations small and large across industries including Zappos, Volunteers of America and Manpower. For more information, visit

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