Salary guide for both permanent and contract rates for HR roles in 2018 across London and the Home Counties.
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Consistent hiring was seen for HR advisors and HR business partners, whilst more specialist roles to prepare for GDPR peaked at the end of summer.
2017 proved to be a mixed year in the HR market across the home counties. There were a number of organisations focusing their efforts on cost saving initiatives and therefore rationalising or restructuring their HR teams. Hiring peaked in the 2nd quarter of the year with the majority of roles, similarly to London, being HR generalists. At the beginning and end of last year however, focus was on placing the majority of opportunities in talent acquisition roles as organisations gear up for the year ahead and are mindful of cost saving plans.
Throughout the year the demand for HR advisors and HR business partners was consistent, particularly at the £45,000 salary level - with a significant peak occurring in the second quarter of the year. Then towards the summer of 2017, roles became increasingly specialist, such as GDPR business analysts, reward specialists and E-Learning specialists. In comparison, the senior end of the HR market remained stagnant, with very little increase in the number of opportunities available year on year compared with 2016.
With digital and technological advancement disrupting the recruitment industry, providing in-house talent teams with unprecedented access to candidates enables employers to fulfil mainstream roles directly. Agency engagement is increasingly being utilised to access candidates with niche skills or in emerging/new disciplines such as data reporting specialists in HR.
The effects and influence of the digital age have become more prevalent in HR with new technologies leading to more specialist and generalist roles. Embracing new technologies have increasingly sought out candidates with a breadth of experience and new skill sets, as employers want individuals to be true business partners to operational and commercial parts of the business.
Conversely, organisations have hired specialists in systems, reporting and tools to remove administrative tasks and improve reporting, analytics, hiring and MI in order to gain further insight into business performance, individual performance, employee engagement and compensation.
For those embarking on a career in HR, it is worth starting a CIPD qualification. While this career develops, potential employers will be more interested in the experiences gained, for example; working with a varied stakeholder group, projects, system implementation, L&D or grievances. However, at the start of a career in HR it can be difficult to demonstrate this in variety and depth. Therefore, the CIPD can enhance one's knowledge, giving greater technical understanding and providing a stronger foundation to build on.
Away from the day to day job, it is advisable to take every opportunity to network and broaden IT skills in particular. Social media, big data and AI are becoming hot topics in HR; from how they may disrupt the workplace, to how they can be utilised in people support and management. However, HR will ultimately remain people orientated and therefore growing a network of both HR and non HR professionals can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Against a backdrop of Brexit, predicted labour shortages and a transient millennial workforce, the biggest trend from 2017 has been a focus on development and staff retention. With almost every recruitment report predicting a talent war in 2018, organisations have bolstered compensation and benefits teams, as well as hiring reporting specialists to focus on producing gap analysis regarding employee engagement.
Overall, 2017 was a good year for HR in the London market, experiencing a 16% increase in contract roles, as well as an increase of roles on the permanent side of over 20%. There was a wide variety of roles brought to the market, however the majority of the roles in demand were in the HR generalist and recruitment specialisms. Salaries and day rates experienced an increase within financial and professional services sectors, but did see a stagnation in other industries. Based on 2017 performance and overall market predictions in London, we anticipate a positive outlook for the HR discipline for 2018.
The beginning of 2017 was heavily focused on placing recruitment roles, demonstrating a confidence in the market as these companies were hiring to grow their talent pool. This also demonstrates an attempt by companies to cut costs by developing their own recruitment function by bringing on internal recruitment advisors and teams. This is a trend we noticed throughout last year and foresee it continuing into 2018.
Market leaders within financial services underwent extensive HR change and transformation projects which resulted in an increase in change and transformation roles in the second half of 2017. Another notable trend was the increased need for graduate recruiters and specialists to fill compensation and benefits jobs, with a spike in hiring taking place in the 3rd quarter of the year as companies began planning for their bonus period.
On a more negative note, there was a decrease in learning and development roles throughout the year as a whole, another example of companies attempting to cut costs. With a large candidate pool across the majority of HR disciplines in London, organisations are able to be very specific on industry experience on all applicants and are hesitant to hire job seekers outside of their relevant sector.
2017 was a very competitive year for talent, and those with additional skills and qualities were placed in more favourable positions with hiring managers. We have identified certain factors to assist or guide HR professionals to be able to stand out amongst their peer set.
These skills include project experience, even showcasing a willingness to engage and be involved in different business projects. This portrays to organisations a desire to understand the business, demonstrate value and develop strategic qualities. Another in-demand skillset has been an understanding and working knowledge of diversity in the workplace, including aspects of gender and millennial workforce management.
A hot topic across the HR market in 2017 was mental health in the workplace, in particular focusing on how employers can better support the wellbeing of their staff. Throughout the year organisations have been ensuring their management teams are trained in recognising signs and having clear and specific support measures in place to support staff with regards to their mental health wellness - important to consider this if you are seeking HR manager jobs.
The role of a HR professional is key in driving this agenda for organisations and individuals that can provide value in these initiatives will be extremely valuable. Whether it be experience devising and embedding training for managers on these or similar topics, experience in workplace culture initiatives and an understanding of analysing and conducting research insights, these skills will be in demand in 2018.
Diversity issues became an overarching theme for most organisations and moulded the HR environment overall, by adapting and changing the focus around the HR hiring process as well as the roles and responsibilities of the HR sector in general.
The Gender Pay Gap Regulations - due to be implemented in April 2018 - have seen an increase in organisations searching for candidates with experience in D&I reporting, with a peak hiring period falling into the second half of 2017 in preparation for this.
Attracting senior female talent continues to be a challenge within London’s financial services and professional services sector. Moving forward, HR professionals will need to be actively attempting to address the gender pay gap and promote equal pay.
In an ever-changing market HR professionals need to be proactively engaging with the changing face of their workforce, specifically looking at new ways to attract and engage millennials as well as acknowledging the effect of an aging population on the workforce. Both these groups of employees will benefit from a flexible approach, such as the ability to be flexible on work location and hours. The challenge for the new year lies in the ability of organisations and HR professionals to ensure employers have the technology, people and culture to support this.