HR professionals are earning higher salaries and working longer hours, according to the Annual Croner Reward and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2008 Reward Survey of more than 5,700 HR professionals.
Despite the economic slowdown, salaries in the HR profession increased by an average 3.25% in 2008. And there is a marked difference between the sectors: the private sector workers have experienced the highest increase with an average of 4% rise this year, followed by the voluntary sector with 3.25%. Public sector HR workers recorded the lowest rise with a 3% increase.
The survey shows that the profession is cautious about the year ahead, but still predicts a rise in HR earnings. Almost half (47%) forecast that they will expect a 3% pay rise in 2009, while only 19% of them foresee a 4% increase and 13% of them a 5%.
Bonuses also held up well this year. HR professionals received bonuses averaging 6.5% of their base salaries, compared to 6% in the 2007 survey.
Charles Cotton, Reward Advisor at The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), says: "Despite the credit crunch and a slowdown in the economy, pay awards for HR professionals are higher in the 2008 survey than in 2007. The fact that HR rewards have held up so well indicates the important role that many in our profession exercise in creating and sustaining a high performance culture. However, despite these increases, HR pay has still not kept pace with inflation. Looking forward, respondents predict that their next year's pay increase will be lower than the one they received this year, reflecting the current economic gloom."
The survey also reveals that HR professionals work longer hours than ever. Seventy-three per cent of the respondents work 40 hours a week or more, compared to 62% in 2007. And among the respondents in the 2008 survey who recorded working more than 40 hours, 44% worked between 41 and 45 hours a week.
This increase is reflected in all business sectors, with the majority of HR professionals in the private sector working 40 hours a week or more (80% compared to 68% last year). They are followed by the voluntary sector HR employees, 68% of whom work 40 hours or more (compared to 52% last year). In the Public sector, 61% of the respondents work more than 40 hours a week (compared to 49% last year).
Within job levels, Personnel Administrators are working harder than ever, with 65% of them working 40 hours a week or more, compared to 36% only in 2007. Personnel Directors showed a slight increase, with 84% of them working more than 40 hours compared to 82% in 2007.
Vivienne Copeland, Director of Client Services at Croner Reward, adds: "The research lifts the lid on an HR professionals' work-life balance, with the results being an indicator of the ill-effects of the credit crunch and the economic downturn. HR plays an important role during uncertain times and the evidence shows that their knowledge and expertise is more in demand than ever."