Most HR folks would love to take home a higher salary.And it’s not like we don’t try to increase our HR salary.We work long hours.We attend SHRM conferences, training programs and use career coaches and workplace mentors.We even bond with our bosses to make sure we’re all operating from the same song sheet.
However, a recent study done by U.S. News & World Report indicates that there are some factors that could correlate to higher HR pay that are simply outside of your control.
While this report didn’t necessarily call out Human Resources professionals, there’s no reason to believe this wouldn’t apply to HR as well.
Nevertheless, here are the 6 reasons that could explain why your HR salary is lighter than you’d like:
1. Lefty men make more than anyone.
Men seem particularly affected by salary advantages and disadvantages that aren’t related to work performance. Consider the premium paid to some lefties. While researchers at Lafayette College and Johns Hopkins University found no wage difference between left-handed and right-handed women, left-handed men who have some college education average about 13 percent more than right-handed men. Lefty males who are college graduates average as much as 20 percent more than their right-handed counterparts.
2. Drinkers make more than nondrinkers.
A report from the Reason Foundation found that while male and female drinkers make more than nondrinkers, men who hit the bar at least once a month—thereby satisfying the definition of social drinkers—seem to make even more.
3. Married men tend to make more than unmarried men.
Researchers at the Federal Reserve of St. Louis found there may be a few reasons for this. For one thing, employers may have a bias in favor of married men because marital status might signify a man’s stability or responsibility. Old-fashioned or not, another possibility is that marriage frees men up to focus on work, rather than on household tasks. The most likely reason, however, is that the observable qualities that appeal to an employer are similar to those that appeal to a mate—characteristics such as background, education, and appearance.
4. Women earn less than men.
Nothing new here. Women are generally acknowledged to be underdogs in the compensation world, but a report from American Association of University Women Education Foundation noted that women choose college majors that pay less—majors such as education, psychology, and healthcare. Men choose more lucrative majors, like engineering and mathematics. The pay difference has, however, undergone a surprising shift in some metropolitan areas. Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College, found that New York women in their 20s earned an average of $7,000 less than their male counterparts in 1970 but were making about $5,000 more in 2005.
5. Cohabitating lesbians earn less.
A 2007 study from University of Northern Iowa looked at 2000 census data and found that cohabitating lesbians earn about 10 percent more annually than married women. They also earn more than cohabitating, unmarried, heterosexual women.
6. Tall people make more than short people.
Short people may be short-changed when it comes to salary, status and respect, according to a University of Florida study that found tall people earn considerably more money throughout their lives. “Height matters for career success,” said Timothy Judge, a UF management professor whose research is scheduled to be published in the spring issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.
“These findings are troubling in that, with a few exceptions such as professional basketball, no one could argue that height is an essential ability required for job performance nor a bona fide occupational qualification.”
Judge and Daniel Cable, a business professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill, analyzed the results of four large-scale research studies – three in the United States and one in Great Britain – which followed thousands of participants from childhood to adulthood, examining details of their work and personal lives.
Judge’s study, which controlled for gender, weight and age, found that mere inches cost thousands of dollars. Each inch in height amounted to about $789 more a year in pay, the study found. So someone who is 7 inches taller – say 6 feet versus 5 feet 5 inches – would be expected to earn $5,525 more annually, he said.
“If you take this over the course of a 30-year career and compound it, we’re talking about literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings advantage that a tall person enjoys,” Judge said.
Feeling terrible? No need to be. There is some comfort you can find, if you don’t fit the profiles outlined above.
Studies also indicate that if you work more hours, you make more money. This is something you can control. Two MSN-Zogby polls found 37 percent of workers with household incomes of $100,000 or more report working between 41 and 50 hours a week, while only 8 percent of those with household income less than $25,000 work as many hours. Of course, there’s plenty that could explain this, as illness, old age, and disability can affect a worker’s hours.
So there is hope that you can indeed make more money in HR…even if you aren’t a left-handed male who drinks heavily.