Bonuses and benefits flow for HR

by 20 Feb 2007

ANNUAL BONUSES, car allowances, health and/or share schemes are common benefits for HR staff at all levels, as employers seek to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive employment market.

A HR salary survey, conducted by HR Matters in conjunction with Human Resources magazine, found that even at the entry level (assistant/administrator), one-third of benefits packages include bonus schemes, while about one in six receive some form of longer term incentive (LTI) in the form of shares or share options.

“This shows how hard companies are working to attract and retain staff in the current competitive employment market,” said Paul Breslin, group manager of HR Matters.

“Share schemes are no longer reserved for the executive team. While they are nowhere near the same in terms of potential value, more companies are willing to spread some form of longer term incentive across more of their workforce than we had expected.”

This usually takes the form of an annual one-off grant of shares (often around $1,000 to $2,000 in value) to most or all employees, if the company has achieved its basic financial objectives, he said.

The survey also found health care benefits continue to grow, with companies offering this benefit to more staff and either absorbing the FBT that this attracts or passing this onto the employee.

The survey, which took in more than 600 HR professionals, also found that the mining and resources sector had in many cases caught up to, and in some areas overtaken, the banking and financial services sector as the highest paid HR category.

While base salaries at the entry level through to the advisor/consultant level were broadly the same, upon reaching the senior advisor/manager level, several industry sectors (banking and financial services, mining/resources, pharmaceutical and telecommunications/IT) broke away and paid more highly than others.

Geographic analysis showed that Sydney remains the most highly paid, followed by Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

“There were few surprises in the base salary results, with pay levels being broadly in line with what we expected and confirming recent anecdotal evidence of increased levels of pay over the last three to four years,” Breslin said.

Again, the mining and resources sector stood out as the most highly paid by base salary of all sectors.

“In summary, the real news was in a better range and level of benefits packages being offered more commonly across all levels of the HR profession. While base salaries have improved over recent times, they remain broadly under control across the profession, with the exception of the mining/resources sector,” Breslin said.

“Clearly, for those hiring or changing jobs or undertaking salary reviews, it is time to reconsider your benefits packages and not just base salary levels to ensure you are keeping pace with the rest of the market.”

The full survey will be available in March 2007 through the HR Matters website and will contain salary data broken down by functional role and also contain analysis by location and industry.

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