Payroll salaries increase by 6% as talent battle wages

Salaries for payroll jobs are increasing by up to 6% a year as pressure on recruitment increases with competition for talent and the growing complexity of legislation making payroll an ever increasing technical and specialist role, according to the latest Portfolio Payroll Payroll Salary Survey 2018/19

The average payroll salary increase was 6% last year, and in some cases up to 12%, for permanent payroll positions from payroll clerks to payroll accountants across the UK in 2018. The most significant growth was recorded in Wales where some executive role salaries increased by up to 25% compared with the UK average of 12% for roles such as payroll manager and head of payroll positions.

For international executive payroll roles, there were permanent salary increases between 15% and 20% with the move of US-based multinationals to Europe being a significant factor in the current upward trend.  ‘This has created the need for a new and very niche payroll skill set due to varied legislation and processes across individual European countries,’ said Patrick Day, associate director at Portfolio Payroll.

'Interim payroll consultants are dominating the international payroll market, where both strategic and operational skill sets are sought after to meet these structural changes’, he added, with the survey finding a 25% increases on daily rates for Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and ex-pat payroll managers.

‘The trend in rapid salary increases can be attributed to the ongoing developments within the profession and the level of complexity of legislation making payroll an ever increasing technical and specialist role,’ explained Day.

Ken Pullar, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) said: ‘Soft skills such as communication, project management and presentation skills are becoming more desirable, and payroll roles are diversifying as ‘more and more payroll professionals [are] analysing the data… to make recommendations regarding reward programmes, adding further dimensions to the payroll skillset'.

Benefits package

Salaries are only one factor payroll professionals consider when searching for new opportunities and deciding whether to stay in their current company.

Suzanne Tanser, reward manager at Croner Reward said: ‘The opportunity to earn a competitive basic salary is still the number one reason people go to work, however an employer who provides wellbeing and work life balance benefits is clearly becoming more prevalent.’

Nearly one in four ( 24%) of those surveyed expressed a desire for additional holiday and 17% for flexible working in businesses where it was not already offered.

In addition, 92% of respondents were offered paid courses/qualifications and/or training – showing that it is a benefit that many payroll professionals value and potentially even expect.

So what is the impact of increased salaries and higher expectations of benefits? 

With the research indicating that 62% of respondents had hired over the past 12 months with 32% expecting to recruit in the next six months, both findings backed Portfolio’s experiences, with a significant rise in the volume of vacancies being registered over the past 12 months.

Day said: ‘With recruitment and retention of payroll talent being more important than ever, payroll recruitment can be more challenging and specialist than many employers are aware of through to competition among employers affecting the level of speed at which employers are looking to conclude their recruitment process.

‘Many organisations now understand through experience that in a competitive and buoyant market you need to move quickly and decisively to secure the best candidates over competing companies.’

Macey advised employers to ‘review their recruitment process, move quickly through the interview stages and ensure all relevant sign off is secured early in the process while ensuring that offers made are as competitive as possible and in-line with market trends’.

Job satisfaction

Considering the rate of change in the payroll industry, job satisfaction rates showed that 60% of payroll employees are satisfied/very satisfied with their current job, while80% of respondents report that their salaries have been reviewed within six months.

This year’s survey highlighted notable advances in the payroll industry from significant changes in legislation, software development, automisation including real time information (RTI), international payroll and strategic decision making – all of which have impacted salaries and the recruitment process.

Download Portfolio Payroll Salary Survey 2018/19 report

Specialist recruitment consultancy, Portfolio Payroll is a division of the Portfolio Group, and actively invests in collating salary data from clients and CIPP members to provide up-to-date bench-marking information. The 5th edition of Portfolio Payroll’s Payroll Salary Survey 2018/19 is available here


Accountancy Daily |Published by Croner-i


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