HR professionals getting more recognition and better pay, says survey

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 9 Nov 2016

Rising starting salaries in Robert Half research shows trend towards greater appreciation of HR skills

HR roles will see the highest average starting salary increases of any industry, up to 3.8 per cent in 2017, according to HR consultancy Robert Half’s 2017 Salary Guide.
Organisations are prioritising the need to employ more highly qualified staff in HR, hoping for the knock-on effect will be those HR specialists can attract and retain talent. Research from 2015-16 shows that the average head of compensation and benefits salary increased by 7.1 per cent, while head of learning and development wages grew by 5.8 per cent – an indication of the importance employers are now placing on these roles.
“In my experience, many organisations understand the benefits of employing highly qualified HR professionals, and know they will need to pay a premium for the best HR talent,” said Julie Nicol, manager human resources and business support at recruiters Mackenzie Jones Middle East.
“The fact that HR salaries have increased in certain specialisms is a positive sign, but it doesn’t mean this is the norm. In particular, HR is still viewed as a cost to many employers, and a function that can easily be downsized in an economic downturn. It is important that organisations invest longer term in their HR functions – with the understanding that attracting and retaining top talent across the organisation needs to be a long-term initiative, regardless of market conditions. Implementing a qualified and experienced HR function will inevitability lead to more engaged and productive employees, which in turn will improve the employer brand,” she added.
Sarmand Tiwana, head of HR at Gulftainer, believes that HR has evolved and gained respect to such an extent that HR professionals now routinely have a say in when a organisation should downsize. “This is a massive shift from transactional HR to transformational HR but there is a still a huge gap between the X & Y generation way of thinking when it comes to the function and role of HR,” he said.
“This gap can only be bridged through coaching, mentoring and proper change management. Until eight years ago, compensation & benefits, and learning & development, were relatively new terms, whereas now you will find many organisations placing huge importance on these roles. However, they are less than half of the HR function. Human resources must still discover innovative approaches to engage, attract, develop and manage talent.”
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director, Robert Half UAE, added: “The need to attract and retain specialist professionals is a key priority for firms – whether a start-up, a local SME or multinational organisation – as they prepare to seek out new opportunities. Despite some ongoing uncertainty across the region, hard-to-fill and business-critical roles continue to experience higher than average starting salary rises.”