HR Managers are poor relations in pay stakes

Senior HR professionals are the lowest paid managers in the UK, with their counterparts in sales, finance, marketing and IT getting up to 50% more in their pay packets, research will reveal next week.

The Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) 2005 National Management Salary Survey, based on responses from almost 21,000 UK managers, will show that senior HR professionals are paid an average annual salary of £31,763.

This compares to £45,477 for general managers, £45,278 for IT, £45,213 for sales and marketing and £43,842 for finance, the survey compiled by Remuneration Economics will reveal.

Barry Dinan, director at executive recruitment firm Hanson Green, said the figures were an indictment of UK employers.

“There is no way a good HR manager should be paid that much less than a finance person,” he said. “They are some of the most valuable people in an organisation.”

The fact there are more HR people looking for jobs than in other functions could be a reason for the discrepancy, although it is likely that gender discrimination is a major factor, Dinan said.

“As much as we might hate it, because many HR managers are women they are paid less than men,” he said. “Some companies may be taking advantage of new mothers returning to work who are desperate for a job.”

Charles Cotton, reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the perception of HR as merely administrative was slowing progress on pay, but things were looking up as more in the profession become specialists and can command higher salaries.

CMI spokesman Mike Petrook agreed the outlook was good as people metrics could be included in company reports under Operating  and Financial Review regulations.

“Fewer people will consider HR simply as an overhead cost,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how much of a difference this makes to HR pay packets.”

Feedback from HR

Craig Warden HR director, Chrysalis: “I think it is indicative of the perceived value, or lesser value, that is placed upon the HR profession. It does, of course, vary according to which industry you are in, with banking typically paying higher salaries for HR talent.”

Leanne Taylor Head of international personnel and training, British Red Cross: “If the organisation sees HR as an administrative function then pay will obviously reflect that. If it wants HR to be an internal consultant and a business partner then pay must be equal with functions like finance.” 

Laura Frith director, Reed Consulting: “There has been a move away from the job title ‘HR manager’. The more creative roles that demand HR to be strategic and trans-formational now have titles such as ‘HR business partner’, ‘HR consultant’ or ‘people and change director’. In this economic climate, many companies, especially smaller firms, are cutting back their cost bases. Roles that are perceived to be non-core are being affected.”

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