Human Resources 2016 Salary Guide

Margot Jansen 25.02.2016

At Morgan McKinley, we endeavor to provide up-to-date market insight and expert knowledge on your sector. Here we offer key recruiter information within the HR sector, covering permanent and temporary salaries across London, the Home Counties and South West England.

View our most up-to-date HR Salary Guide.


A very busy year for HR

2015 was an active year for HR permanent recruitment, with volumes increasing to levels which we have not seen since 2008. It started with strong demand for HR managers and HR generalists. As we moved further into the year, demand also picked up strongly for rewards and compensation specialists, learning and development (L&D) and training experts, and HR advisors. SMEs proved to be more active than the larger financial services institutions. Recruiters were in high demand mid-year, especially from technology firms, which suggests that there will be growth in other areas of HR throughout 2016.

In general, the permanent market is now highly candidate-driven, with many HR professionals not actively looking for new opportunity opportunities. This is particularly true at the senior end where the top rated talent will not come proactively consider new opportunities unless approached directly.

HR remains a female-dominated discipline with the exception of projects, where there is a more even gender balance. Candidates that are favoured by the larger organisations will usually need a degree, along with a HR qualification such as CIPD. SMEs are a little more open to candidates with different educational backgrounds and practical experience, particularly at the more senior levels.

Technology-related recruitment, for example in SAP LMS, was not a major focus in 2015 but is a topic of interest in L&D so we may see further growth here in 2016.

Salaries have been rising at around 5% per annum. The rate of increase is unlikely to accelerate in 2016. Although we have seen a lot of activity, the talent pool is not stretched.

High demand with more cross-sector recruitment

Reflecting back on 2015, it has been a vibrant year in terms of increased job flow within the temporary/contract community. With consistent growth throughout the year, demand for HR generalists and HR specialists alike, a faster recruitment process and a market that is opening up to consider candidates from other sectors.
The contract market has continued to be buoyant mainly because of the extent of change that is happening in many organisations. The review and restructuring of the business model, together with compliance and regulatory changes are driving demand for experienced project professionals as well as generalists who are required to back-fill for internal mobility in staffing projects.
The year kicked off with a high demand for L&D specialists and succession planning experts, due to the fact that retaining talent is top of the agenda for many organisations. We had lots of job flow across all levels of Talent, Recruitment and L&D within financial services, professional services and commerce & industry.
As we moved into Q2, there was a surge in demand for junior level recruiters (recruitment coordinators, interview schedulers, junior talent acquisition) within the professional services and commerce and industry sectors, namely within technology and consulting organisations. Financial services had a strong requirement for HR specialists within change, projects and transformations mainly due to strategic initiatives within learning, talent and leadership management. There were also a lot of process improvement projects in place, which required HR subject matter experts.
The demand for HR project/transformation specialists carried forward into Q3. HR administrators and HR advisors were required to assist the wider team with the extra work arisen from additional projects. There was also high demand for senior business partners to back-fill for internal mobility. The professional services industry was looking for graduate recruiters.
The momentum of the year continues to the final quarter of the year where October saw consistent activity in a number of areas. Morgan McKinley was busy sourcing junior level HR generalists and recruiter roles. November and December quietened down as many financial service organisations used up their budgets and many companies moved into a review period.
One of the biggest shifts witnessed throughout the 2015 was how the contract market moved to become more candidate driven due to the high volume of competitive roles. Financial services, which is traditionally slower in the recruitment process is becoming very responsive to prospective candidates and acting quickly throughout both the interview and offer stage.
Another outcome of 2015 was the change in attitude towards industry experience and companies wide are opening up to consider candidates from other sectors. This particularly relates to financial services, which in the past would have overlooked a candidate with the right skill set and work experience, if they had not come from an FS background. Candidates from the retail, FMCG and oil & gas industries are now being placed into the banking sector. The HR contract market looks particularly promising for 2016 with clients industry wide advising that demands are ever increasing.

Human Resources - London

(£ Salary per annum)

(£ Rate per day)

HR Generalist    
HR Administrator 25,000-32,000 100-120
HR Officer 32,000-40,000 120-150
HR Advisor 40,000-50,000 180-250
HR Business Partner / HR Manager 60,000-90,000 250-400
Senior HR Business Partner/ HR Manager 80,000-120,000 400-600
Head of HR / HR Director 120,000-180,000 600-800
Learning & Development    
Learning & Development Coordinator 25,000-32,000 100-120
Learning & Development Advisor 35,000-50,000 150-250
Learning & Development Manager 50,000-80,000 250-400
Head of Learning & Development 90,000-140,000 500-800
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Administrator 25,000-35,000 100-150
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Analyst 40,000-55,000 150-250
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Manager 50,000-80,000 300-500
Head of Compensation & Benefits / Reward 90,000-140,000 500-800
Employment Relations    
Employee Relations Specialist / Manager 60,000-90,000 300-500
Recruitment Coordinator 25,000-35,000 100-150
Experienced Hire / Graduate Recruiter 35,000-60,000 200-400
Recruitment Manager 50,000-80,000 300-500
Head of Recruitment 80,000-140,000 500-800
HR Project Support 33,000-45,000 150-200
HR Project Analyst 40,000-55,000 200-300
HR Project Manager 50,000-90,000 300-500
Organisational Design Specialist 90,000-130,000 500-800

Home Counties & South West England

A busy year in HR recruitment

The past year has seen a significant uplift in the recruitment of HR professionals across all commerce and industry and financial services sectors, in businesses of all sizes from SMEs to blue chips, and at all levels of seniority. Moreover, there is demand for both HR generalists and specialists in areas such as training, L&D, talent acquisition and retention, succession planning and remuneration. HR generalists who also possesses thorough understandings in a particular HR discipline is particularly sought after and will find it easier to transition between sectors than may have been the case previously.

The talent pool in the Home Counties is very strong although some of the newer types of role, such as Employee Relations Manager or Employee Brand Manager (which require a hybrid skill set combining both HR and internal communications or marketing) can take time to fill. Candidates appreciate that they have more options than was the case a couple of years ago. Competition for talent from large London-based companies can also make it difficult to secure the best candidates, although the salary differences don't tend to differ to the City offerings.

In the current climate hiring organisations are aware that they must be flexible on their rewards and benefits packages. We have seen some upward pressure on salaries but more significantly, many candidates now expect greater flexibility around work/life balance, such as the ability to work from home at least one day a week. This is particularly the case with senior HR professionals, who more often tend to live some considerable distance from their place of work. HR remains a female-dominated professional discipline at all levels, with the exception of projects, where like in London, there is a more even balance.

A more subdued contract market 

We saw fewer appointments to HR contract and interim roles than permanent in the Home Counties, probably because in the current economic climate companies have greater confidence and are planning ahead. Those that we did see tended to be maternity leave covers. There was however, some growth in appointments to manage mergers and acquisitions and restructuring-related projects, for example to handle staff transfer arrangements.

We may see more HR-related IT projects being initiated in the coming years, requiring HR staff with experience in technologies such as SAP LMS.

Human Resources - Home Counties & South West England
(£ Salary per annum)
(£ Rate per day)
HR Generalist    
HR Administrator 20,000-28,000 80-110
HR Officer 25,000-30,000 100-120
HR Advisor 28,000-40,000 110-150
HR Business Partner / HR Manager 45,000-60,000 175-230
Senior HR Business Partner/ HR Manager 50,000-80,000 250-400
Head of HR / HR Director 80,000-150,000 350-600
Learning & Development    
Learning & Development Coordinator 22,000-30,000 85-120
Learning & Development Advisor 35,000-45,000 150-175
Learning & Development Manager 45,000-60,000 175-230
Head of Learning & Development 70,000-95,000 230-450
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Administrator 22,000-35,000 85-150
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Analyst 35,000-45,000 150-175
Compensation & Benefits / Reward Manager 50,000-70,000 175-230
Head of Compensation & Benefits / Reward 60,000-85,000 230-450
Employment Relations    
Employee Relations Specialist / Manager 50,000-80,000 200-400
Recruitment Coordinator 22,000-30,000 85-120
Experienced Hire / Graduate Recruiter 30,000-50,000 150-250
Recruitment Manager 50,000-70,000 200-400
Head of Recruitment 75,000-110,000 400-550
HR Project Support 30,000-40,000 115-150
HR Project Analyst 35,000-45,000 140-250
HR Project Manager 40,000-65,000 200-350
Organisational Design Specialist 65,000-100,000 350-500
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