HR professionals’ salaries have been ‘swamped’ by inflation, according to recruitment company Reed.
Like many sectors, wages for HR professionals sit well below the current rate of inflation, with a 4.2% rise in salaries during 2022.
Almost two-thirds of HR professionals who are not happy with their salary said this was because it had not kept up with the cost of living.
There was a gulf between average earnings in HR and what professionals considered a “comfortable” salary to live on.
Reed found that on average, respondents earned £35,500 per year. In contrast, respondents would on average consider an annual salary of £49,300 to be a comfortable salary to live on.
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The company analysed salaries on offer for 6.6 million jobs posted on the careers site over the last three years. Growth in HR salaries lagged slightly behind manufacturing and engineering, which saw the biggest pay increase last year at 5%.
Roles in the hospitality and leisure sector suffered a salary decrease of 3.5%, it found.
According to Grant Rigler, HR expert at Reed, there’s a sharp focus on talent with equality, diversity and inclusion experience, and companies with a strong brand and culture are seeing more quality HR candidates.
He added that the pandemic had highlighted the importance of HR and in many organisations the people function is highly regarded at board level.
He said: “The changing workplace has led to businesses prioritising the growth of HR teams, and we have seen demand increase over the past year across all areas, particularly in ED&I (equality, diversity and inclusion) and learning and development.
“With there being little slow down in recruitment activity across the UK, we are expecting the year ahead to present opportunities to those who are looking to progress in HR.”
More than half (53%) of HR professionals surveyed by Reed said they were happy with their current salary, but 26% said they were not. For those that were unhappy, 61% said their pay had not risen in line with living costs.
Chief people officers in the private sector could expect an average package of between £127,600 and £180,800, depending on the size of their business, it found.
The highest HR director salary in the private sector was £167,000, for this role in a company of more than 500 people.
Flexible working or flexi-time was the most common non-cash benefit on offer, according to Reed, but 43% of professionals said they would prefer an annual salary increment over other benefits.
Official figures last week showed that inflation measured by the consumer prices index (CPI) remains near a 40-year high, at 10.1%