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Pay up, I work in HR

Senior City HR professionals are taking home seven-figure packages. Not bad for a support function.

“A good head of compensation and benefits is now on 1m,” says Sally Talbot, managing director of HR-focused headhunting boutique Redwood Search. “A global head of HR is on 750k to 1m, a European head of HR or a global head in a smaller set-up is on 300k to 500k, and director-level reports are on 250k to 300k.”

How did HR get so rich? It’s mostly down to the shortage of ‘good’ people, says Talbot. It’s also down to the fact that people are moving out of the business into HR a little more frequently – and demanding front-office-style packages.

“The really good heads of HR tend to be able to do the numbers as well as the people agenda,” Talbot says. The head of HR at one European bank came from a fixed income background at a rival, for example. Another has a background as a finance director.

The latest salary survey from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley cites some less impressive figures (admittedly, minus bonuses). According to Morgan McKinley, a head of HR is on an 80k to 180k salary, while a director in comp and bens is on 70k to 90k. Worst off are lowly HR administrators who scrape by on 20k to 35k.

Comments (8)

  1. I think 35K for an Adminstrator is wholly inaccurate More like 27max if your lucky!

  2. I don’t believe this for a second (having previously worked at a search firm specialising in senior HR staff). My guess is that it’s a tactic to make the senior HR guys worried they’re missing out. They’ll be that little bit more receptive for the “Is this a good time to talk…” call after reading this!

  3. There is a shortage of good people in HR – and especially Comp and Ben but these figures are top end of the market and in only the major global concerns. There are perhaps a dozen people in total earning the 7 figures quoted. Some have 7 figure packages but they are more likely to be in USD or Euros! Superb PR for Redwood though… headline grabbing etc.

    Global Search Consultant Reply
  4. I must be one of the lucky administrators. As I have secured a role paying 27k excluding benefits……. Lucky me!!!!

    Happy HR Administrator Reply
  5. I find that article and the numbers laughable. Obviously this web site is made by HR types trying to pretend they are very valuable when in fact they are only support staff and deserve to be paid accordingly….

  6. I know salaries for inhouse recruiters are becoming very competitive since we save companies from paying out 30-50k per placement so it makes sense to have good recruiters being paid well who in the long term save the company money. However I’m surprised to hear HR are earning so much..I haven’t come across any HR people in any of the investment banks (in the UK) earning these figures!

    Anonymous – In House Recruitment/Banking Reply
  7. this comment reveals a very poor understanding of the comp market. A total package of circa 500k is more realistic in the city.

    anonymous headhunter Reply
  8. To junk bond “they are only support staff and deserve to be paid accordingly….” .

    Nice for your colleagues to call them ONLY support staff… You know what support staff means? I guess no. Without IT, in house lawyers, HR and all the other support staff, you would do nothing. They are here to support you: some so that you can have the most appropriate computing tools, some to advise you not to do some big legal mistakes or to optimize your work, and some to recruit and pay you, and some others to catch any phone call so that you are not too disturbed to do your job.

    Front office should thank all the other people who work for them instead of thinking they are the best and the only ones in the world who deserve big salaries but it is not the case.

    Perhaps the question should be the next: why do front office staff earn so much more for a ratio time/work which is not that different? I want an answer which is deeper than explaining the concept of bonus and turnover and that they are the best individuals in the world, as i m not stupid. thanks

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