Benefits may be the key to enticing top talent

The updated salary survey for 2017/2018 suggests that benefits may be the key to hiring – and keeping – top employees

The report highlighted the various benefits on offer to payroll professionals. 

The most common included:

  • Auto enrolled pension
  • Flexible working
  • Life assurance
  • Private healthcare

Other less common benefits were also on offer. These included:

  • Study leave
  • Gym memberships
  • Car/car allowance

Almost 60% of payroll teams recruited through an agency. However, nearly 20% brought on new talent through either a recommendation or internal referral. Increasingly, payroll professionals are moving from permanent to interim and temporary work.

Portfolio Payroll, a specialist recruitment consultancy based in London, has released the results of its 2017/2018 salary survey. Polling professionals throughout the payroll sector, the organisation shed light on how benefits are now vital for anyone looking to attract top talent.

Anthony Macey – director of Portfolio Payroll stated: “Total compensation packages and remaining competitive within the market is a key consideration for all employers.

“Total compensation packages for candidates moving from one role to another is a key deciding factor for potential new hires with pension, private healthcare, bonus and incentive plans most desirable combined with greater interest in flexible working policies.”

This is apparent within the payroll industry. Of those polled for the report, it was quite common for firms to provide schemes such as auto-enrolled pension, life assurance, flexible working, or private healthcare.

However, it was not unheard of for employees to be offered gym memberships, car/car allowances, or study leave.

Perhaps as a means to further differentiate themselves from the competition, other benefits on offer included personal support through enhanced maternity schemes or employee assistance programmes. Bonuses of up to 15% were also made available within several payroll teams.

Salary satisfaction

Although benefits are desirable, income is a key attraction for those looking to move job. When asked to rate – out of five stars – how satisfied they were with their current salary, almost 40% (39.59) gave the full score whereas just over six percent (6.37) responded with one star.

In addition, around 26% (26.01%) replied with four, approximately 16% (16.11%) stated three, and more than 10% (11.92%) rated their salary satisfaction levels at only two stars.

These high satisfaction levels could be due to how often salaries were reviewed within the payroll sector. For example, when polling respondents, more than 40% had their income reviewed less than six months ago. In comparison, less than 20% had theirs revised over 12 months ago.

Macey also stated: “Increased competition and demand has driven payroll salaries consistently higher year on year since our findings in our 2015 salary survey through to the current highs of our latest survey in 2017.

“The demand for Payroll professionals has been consistently high over the last few years, largely due to the ever increasing complexity of payroll legislation.

The continued rise of payroll at the centre of any successful business alongside HR and Finance teams has seen a demand for candidates and the payroll recruitment market has become even more competitive with competition between employers for high calibre candidates as fierce as we have ever known it.”

Currently, the average payroll salary in the UK stands at £29,596 while staff in this sector have benefited from a 0.5% increase in overall median basic pay throughout the last 12 months.

Changing recruitment practices

The data collected from the salary survey illustrates the changing attitudes payroll teams are taking to locate the best talent. Although almost 60% of firms used a recruitment agency to conduct their hiring, almost 20% chose to take someone on through an internal referral or recommendation.

“However, the most significant trend we have seen is the speed in which the market is moving, with companies being required to speed up their recruitment process to compete or even beat competing employers to secure the best talent.” Macey stated.

“As such we are encouraging our clients to speed up their recruitment process by shortening the gap between interview stages and progressing CVs quickly, through to gaining sign off for new hires prior to starting the recruitment process.”

These rapid changes in the market could explain why more than 30% (30.57%) of payroll teams anticipate recruiting within the next 3-5 months and more than 40% (40.02%) took on new employees less than three months ago.

An increasing demand for temp/interim professionals

The salary survey illustrated that an increasing number of payroll professionals are moving from permanent employment into more flexible consultancy work.

This has been attributed to the on-going need for these individuals to lead key projects – from post implementation all the way through to change management and process improvement.

“To say the interim market has exploded over the last 12 months is an understatement! In all my 10 years at Portfolio Payroll I have never seen such a demand for senior payroll professionals.”, stated Patrick Day, senior manager at Portfolio Payroll.

“I never promote leaving a permanent position for interim work unless you are in a financial position to do so, but candidates with a wealth of payroll experience prefer the variety and challenges it brings and rarely look back once they choose that career path.”

Although rates differ throughout the UK, the research revealed that an interim payroll manager could expect to receive at least £200 a day for their efforts. However, in London, this increases to £250.

The research also demonstrated that implementation and project managers were in high demand. If one of these professionals sought work in the capital, he or she could expect to receive up to £550 a day for their efforts.

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