Are HR salaries adapting to increased demand?

Barney Ely
Director of Hays Human Resources
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The role of HR is gaining prominence as skills shortages remain rife across the UK. HR is key in driving talent attraction and retention strategies in hard-to-fill roles and the specialism is becoming more involved in strategic decision-making for organisations, resulting in even stronger competition for talented professionals.

According to our Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide, 90% of HR employers expect their organisation’s activity levels to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months. But how will this prediction affect hiring and salary trends within HR itself?

Hiring plans remain varied

Creating and maintaining a strong workplace culture is a key function of HR, so having a long-term investment in an organisation is often essential for those in the profession. Therefore, organisations tend to favour permanent hires, with our guide showing that almost three-quarters (71%) of HR employers expect to hire permanent staff in the year ahead. 

The demand for temporary staff remains, partly driven by the need for support on transformation projects. We found that over a third expect to recruit temporary professionals, with change management and TUPE experience especially high in demand.

Salary increases tempered

Although there are many areas outside of pay which play a key role in job satisfaction, with many of them detailed in our recent What Workers report, pay is still a crucial element of an employment package.

Salary trends reflect this as our guide found 75% of HR employers increased salaries in the last 12 months, with 58% of those increasing salaries up to 2.5%. Despite this activity, 56% of HR employees claim they are not happy with their current salary and 57% expect to move roles in the next 12 months. In order to acquire and retain the top talent it is essential that employers benchmark their salaries accurately.

Retention influencing HR skills in demand

Demand for learning and development professionals has increased in the last year as we continue to see a number of organisations battle with skills shortages. As well as this should be learning to mirror the sentence before training and development, rewards and benefits offerings are also becoming more prevalent in retaining skilled workers. Therefore it’s no surprise that reward and benefits professionals, as well as talent and resourcing professionals, are highly sought after and commanding greater than average salaries.

A greater need for senior employees who are able to effectively communicate the commercial benefits of the HR function to internal stakeholders is also emerging. We have often found this to be an essential skill, and those candidates that can display the ability will be in particularly high demand.

A strong HR function continues to be key in securing the talent organisations need to survive in such a competitive employer marketplace. In order to acquire the top HR talent needed for survival, employers must ensure they are offering competitive salary and benefits packages, as well as providing good career development and training which is key.

About Barney Ely

Barney Ely

Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.


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