Experienced HR professionals are in such short supply that employers are increasingly recruiting from outside their industry sector, according to a salary survey from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.
Its report claims that with HR roles assuming greater importance and prominence, employers in London, the Home Counties and the Midlands have increased salaries by up to 10% over the past year.
The survey – now in its eighth year – reveals that HR directors at London companies can earn up to £200,000 a year.
Other senior HR practitioners have also seen sharp increases in salary, with heads of compensation and benefits earning between £70,000 and £100,000 a year, and heads of recruitment taking home £50,000 to £90,000.
HR managers with 10 or more years of experience are on a par with recruitment managers and compensation and benefit managers in earning £50,000 to £70,000.
Robert Walters says that the City’s flourishing financial and professional services firms have led the recruitment charge, with FTSE-100 companies looking for candidates with experience of organisation and development, and investment banks seeking out HR generalists.
But the report warns that retailers, which have traditionally paid lower salaries, are finding it difficult to attract HR talent and remain competitive.
…but times are harder elsewhere
While HR salaries in London have roared ahead, practitioners working in the East and West Midlands have faced more difficult times, according to the Robert Walters survey.
It says that although the Midlands retail sector enjoyed “spectacular” growth over the previous three years, the good times came to a sudden end in 2006, when a number of organisations decided to make employees redundant or put their hiring plans on hold.
The manufacturing industry also suffered. Some companies moved production overseas, and the closure of the Peugeot plant at Ryton brought further bad news.
Despite this, HR salaries continued to rise slowly, with companies showing a willingness to pay top salaries for talented individuals.
In Dublin, meanwhile, a shortage of high-calibre candidates is forcing employers to increase salaries.
HR professionals now expect a pay rise if they move jobs, and are increasingly receiving multiple job offers – putting them in a stronger negotiating position.
…and training managers also face the same pay divide
Training managers can increase their salaries by anything up to a half by heading for the capital, the survey shows.
While training managers in Midlands-based companies typically earn between £30,000 and £40,000 a year, those in London’s commercial and industrial concerns take home £40,000 to £60,000. City-based financial institutions pay the highest rates, with training managers earning £45,000 to £75,000 a year.
The disparity is starker still lower down the scale, where training officers in London’s financial institutions may earn twice as much as their counterparts in the Midlands.