The booming recruitment market has led to a 50 per cent rise in job vacancies for high-calibre HR directors.
Exclusive research for Personnel Today found there were 456 posts advertised in the year to March, compared with 304 in the previous 12 months.
And the scramble for talented directors is leading to companies offering six-figure salaries and golden handshakes.
Brian Jones, an HR recruitment specialist at CSA Management Consultants, said, “This time last year, golden handshakes weren’t really happening in HR. Now they are. We are talking about six figures plus a golden handshake because companies are fighting to get the talent.”
Amanda Molyneaux, personnel manager at Liverpool’s John Moores University, said the research showed consistent year-on-year growth in recruitment advertising.
She said, “The greatest factor in the increase in jobs advertised is likely to be a consequence of the increasing requirement for specialist human resource expertise.”
This, she said, is down to a number of drivers including the “relentless growth of employment legislation [and] the growing complexity of employing people”.
Mark Childs, director of global compensation and benefits at Fidelity Investments, said the profession is seeing rapid change in personnel remuneration.
He said, “External issues such as the effects of European and UK legislation, increased competition and the ‘war for talent’ have created a buoyant market for a new breed of HR professionals who demand flexible and rewarding compensation and benefits.”
Meanwhile, HR directors have maintained their earnings lead over IT, according to a survey by the Institute of Management.
But the figures show IT, which has moved from seventh ranking last year to fifth in 2000, is closing the gap with HR.
The survey puts average pay for an HR director at £103,212, compared with £102,205 in IT.
The study was carried out by Salary Survey Publications. A summary of the findings, produced in association with TMP Worldwide, will be free inside next week’s issue.