HR professionals in high demand despite grim economic outlook

HR professionals are bucking the grim economic conditions by remaining in high demand, according to experts.

A worldwide salary survey by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters found that the market for HR professionals was “extremely buoyant” despite the economic downturn.

The findings showed that employers still needed good people management, said Charles Cotton, reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

“There are lots of challenges for organisations, especially with the current economic downturn, so quality HR is very important now,” he told Personnel Today.

The survey found that a large number of employers are reducing basic HR salaries to accommodate extra benefits.

Basic pay now accounts for an average of just 60% of the overall package for HR professionals. Expected benefits include flexible working hours, long-term incentive schemes, and often a cash bonus.

The report said: “While total reward has always been recognised at senior levels, where long-term incentive schemes and significant bonuses come into play, there is a growing realisation that these same principles need to be applied to all employees, even down to entry-level positions.”

But Cotton warned against fixed payments, and encouraged companies to look at flexible options.

“I think there’s a problem with introducing more benefits, because if the organisation goes through a downturn, you’ve got a lot of fixed costs weighing against you,” he said.

“Organisations need to be shifting towards bonus elements, so they can scale those up when there are major payouts, and lower them when profits aren’t as high.”

The study also showed that recruitment processes were being speeded up to give companies a competitive advantage, something Cotton believes will continue in 2008.

“At the moment, speed is definitely required,” he said. “Organisations are noticing shortages in key talent, and they’re quite desperate to fill those gaps.”

2008 average HR salaries

  • HR director £90,000-£200,000
  • Organisation/change manager £50,000-£95,000
  • HR business partner £50,000-£85,000
  • Head of HR £60,000-£105,000
  • HR advisor £28,000-£37,000
  • HR administrator £19,000-£26,000

Source: Robert Walters

Comments are closed.