Hays UK jobs and employment blog


Where are the highest HR salaries in 2019?

By Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

HR professionals with specialised skills are set to be in high demand over the coming year. Most employers (94%) in HR have experienced skills shortages during 2018. As a result of these shortages, salaries across the sector rose by an average of 2.1% last year, according to our latest Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide. HR professionals who are high in demand include those working in reward roles as well as those skilled in implementing talent management strategies.

Our guide indicates that professionals with more niche skills can expect to see bigger salary increases. Operations and technical skills are particularly in demand, with nearly half (43%) of employers saying these skills are the most needed by their organisation. A manager who can combine technical skills with the traditional soft skills of leadership, communication and people management would be indispensable for many firms – and in a good position to see their pay increase in the year ahead.

Salary rises not necessarily enough

In the light of the ongoing skills shortages, 80% of employers increased HR salaries over the last year, and the good news for HR professionals is that 74% of their employers plan to increase them during 2019.

Pay rises appear to be impacting on employee salary satisfaction, as less than a third of HR professionals were unhappy with their salary last year, a big improvement on the previous year’s 56%. However, many professionals are still looking to improve their pay in 2019: 44% of those not expecting to change role in the year ahead would consider doing so for better pay.

If you want to compare the salaries of those in your team to the market rate, check out our salary checker. This will show you the highest, lowest and average earnings for different seniorities and skillsets across several UK regions. As well as benchmarking your team’s salaries, you can also compare your own earnings to those of your peers and find out if you could earn more.

If you think your salary could be higher, it pays to ensure you have all the latest industry knowledge you need to support your case for a higher salary.

Upskilling is vital

Upskilling existing workers is a growing trend across the sector. As an HR professional, it is worth considering what you can do to make yourself indispensable to your current employer or attractive to potential future employers.

Staying up-to-date with the latest technological changes will always put you in good stead, and with the vast majority of employers having unfilled vacancies, a skilled HR manager should be able to take their pick of the best jobs – and the best salaries.

Charles Cotton, Performance and Reward Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “According to the HR professionals we have questioned, many are looking at a variety of solutions for their skills shortages, such as upskilling existing staff; hiring more apprentices, graduates, and EU nationals already based in the UK; and trying to retrain older workers.

“When it comes to pay, high salary increases are likely to be targeted at workers that the organisation is worried to lose, or to attract talent in select roles. For most employees, HR professionals forecast that salaries will increase by 2% on average.”

While 2% rise is a nice, steady increase, there is no reason why you can’t upskill and arm yourself with the latest knowledge to secure yourself even better pay for 2019.

Find out if you’re being paid what you’re worth by visiting our online salary checker.

About this author

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.


Salary Guide 2022

Access the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2022

Check out the latest market insights in our Spring Quarterly Update.


Use our salary checker

Use our salary checker

Whether you are looking for a new job or a pay rise, it helps to understand what the typical salaries are and what your potential earnings could be.

Take a look


Register a job

Register a vacancy

Have a vacancy? Fill in your details here.


Contact us

Find your nearest Hays office

Hays has offices across the whole of the UK. Contact us to discuss your employment needs.