HR pay rises lowest in a decade

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HR professionals saw their pay rise by an average of 2.3% over the past year, according to new data from XpertHR Salary surveys.

The 2.3% overall figure is down slightly on last year’s average rise of 2.4%, and is the lowest it has been at any time in the past decade.

Salary increases peaked in 2007 at 5.4%. By 2011, they had dropped to 3.6% and have fallen each year since (see chart below).

XpertHR’s annual survey of HR salaries found some of the biggest increases were concentrated among those at the top of the profession, with HR directors taking home an extra 2.6%, while new starters in entry level roles got just 2.1% extra on average.

HR pay rises and inflation, 2006 to 2016

HR pay rises and inflation, 2006 to 2016

The report also found that:

  • HR information systems specialists’ pay rose by an average 2.7%, while compensation and benefits practitioners got just 2%.
  • The lowest salary increases were in Northern Ireland at just 1.5% on average.
  • The average basic salary for an HR director now stands at £137,798, rising to £173,005 when bonuses are included.
  • Entry level basic salaries are £19,454 on average, rising by a small amount to £19,620 when bonuses are added.
  • At senior levels, there are clear links between an HR professional’s performance rating and their salary.
  • At junior levels, pay is less clearly linked to performance but tends to rise with length of service.

Commenting on the findings, XpertHR head of salary surveys Mark Crail said: “HR professionals have seen their pay rise faster than inflation each year since 2013.

“However, with the RPI inflation measure now at 2% and rising, the trend could be reversed this year. During 2017, HR professionals may begin to get worse off in real terms, as they last did between 2010 and 2012.”

The HR salary survey is based on anonymised payroll data supplied by 265 employers on 7,322 HR professionals. It tracks movements in pay based on a matched sample of individual employees.