Nine in 10 firms struggled to keep hold of their HR staff in 2006

Good HR professionals became incredibly hard to hold on to in 2006, research has revealed.

Nine out of 10 firms had problems retaining HR staff last year, according to a report by salary survey company Celre. This was up from six in 10 in 2005, making HR professionals by far the hardest workers to tie down.

The main factors causing retention problems in 2006 were low salaries and strong competition from other companies. After this came job insecurity and a perceived lack of career progression opportunities, the survey of 100 major companies found.

Duncan Brown, assistant director-general at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told Personnel Today: “Research has told us that HR people feel they have to move on to boost their CV as well as their skills and breadth of experience.

“This figure is in the context of a very tight labour market generally, and a growth in HR jobs. My only concern would be for companies not investing in the development of their staff, because they will struggle to hold on to people.”

The rate of HR salary growth slowed in 2006, with the survey showing a 4.6% increase in average salary, compared with 5.5% in 2005. The average HR director earned £120,421 in 2006 – plus a £33,140 bonus. Meanwhile, clerical staff made an average of just £15,917.

HR staff working in the emerging business partner role did the best in 2006, with an average 9% rise. Those in pensions administration jobs had the worst year, seeing just a 3.2% increase in average salary.

The good news for employers was that with HR professionals leaving their jobs, recruiting new HR talent became marginally easier. The number of firms experiencing difficulties dropped from 67% in both 2004 and 2005 to 62% in 2006.

Percentage of firms having difficulties retaining staff in each profession

 Profession  2005 2006 






Sales and marketing















Source: Celre

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