A new breed of HR specialists is being sought by top companies willing to pay huge salaries to keep their organisations out of employment tribunals, according to senior HR experts.
Recruitment firm Robert Walters has reported a 20% increase in senior HR salaries during the past year, with these types of roles commanding up to £200,000 a year.
Susan Major, managing director of HR at the company, told Personnel Today: "More legislation is coming through and companies are more aware of the risks and want a strong HR team in place.
"The role of HR is being considered more valuable, and is becoming more central to businesses as a result. As the function continues to grow, so has the demand for specialist teams to avoid employment tribunals," she said.
These specialists are currently being employed by organisations at a premium because they are in such high demand, she added.
Jon Ingham, director at HR consultancy Buck Consultants, said: "The findings reinforce an ongoing move by organisations towards hiring HR professionals with more specialist skills, which include a focus on employee relations and employment law."
Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said it was clear that companies were bulking up their HR teams to tackle employment disputes.
He pointed to the recent Gibbons Review - charged with examining options for simplifying and improving employment dispute resolution - as an indicator that the issue was steadily moving up the corporate agenda.