While Australian salaries are set to increase by an average 4% this year, there’s less pleasant news for HR professionals: salaries in HR, marketing, customer service, admin and sales have slumped by between 2.5% and 8.6% below that of the general market.
Yet before a panic ensues, it seems our friends in the west may be largely responsible for the skewed economic outlook. Across industries, the greatest salary gains were in regional Western Australia, where salaries were 16.8% higher than the market average, Hay Group’s 2012 Australian Salary Movement Index (ASMI) revealed. “The pay gap between the resources sector and the rest of the market has widened dramatically, mirroring the trends in the patchwork economy which is currently seeing some sectors struggling while others enjoy boom times,” Steven Paola from Hay Group commented.
The sectors experiencing the largest pay discrepancy compared to the national average were insurance, fast moving consumer goods, building materials, business services and retail. Alongside HR’s own pay concerns, the outlook has also created major challenges for HR in these sectors in terms of retaining top talent and driving productivity through reward strategies.
In 2012/13 Paola recommended employers need to focus on:
Linking reward to performance and aligning individual’s targets with organisational objectives
Rewarding outstanding performers, not just everyone equally
Communicate the total pay and benefits you offer employees and ensure you have the right mix of tangible and intangible elements to appropriately reward and recognise employees – often intangible rewards speak a lot louder than money
Align the job to the organisation strategy, ensure you have the right person in the right role and reward accordingly
Adopt a long term view of rewards by creating a two or three year plan instead of a year on year approach.
As employers look for non-monetary incentives, the focus should turn to initiatives such as career development and progression opportunities, work/life balance initiatives and building an engaged and enabled work environment and culture. “The best companies also encourage employees to develop skills in areas outside their expertise, and give them assignments that stretch their capabilities,” Paola added.