Payroll Salary & Market Report 2019-20 – Salaries

October 24, 2019

We are pleased to report that UK payroll salaries continue to increase as a direct reflection on the function’s growing importance within an organisation. These increases are across the board, for permanent payroll positions from payroll administrators, to payroll managers and global head of payroll positions, as well as competitive daily rates for change and transformation consultants.

Our 2019 salary survey reveals that salary increases for certain levels of employment are higher in some sectors than others. For example, a global head of payroll in professional services, which includes accountancy, can expect to see a 7% increase in their salary. However, in banking and financial services, our survey shows the same role can command an average base salary of between £100,000 and £130,000 in central London, which has increased from the £95,000 to £110,000 range found in 2018.

Other industries such as technology, oil & gas, wealth management and the legal sector continue to increase salaries across the mid to senior levels. Predominately due to increased complexity, more organisations are moving away from their historic outsourced model to an in-house solution, resulting in an increased level of control. This movement, along with the integration of payroll and benefits, is increasingly becoming the norm for many organisations, generating a number of new standalone roles across the UK. Streamlining of processes and creating efficiencies frees up valuable time, allowing payroll professionals to carry out higher value work that commands a higher salary.

Major changes to UK legislation in the past five years have also impacted payroll salaries, with additional work being generated by the introduction of things like pensions auto enrolment, shared parental leave, and gender pay reporting. Reform to the intermediaries’ rules (IR35) in the public sector, soon to be implemented in the private sector, preparations for Brexit, in particular the impact it may have on EU/EEA nationals currently a pressing issue.

There are a number of specific issues affecting businesses that are extremely challenging and constantly evolving, and have direct implications for the payroll industry. Arguably the single biggest issue facing businesses today is Brexit, with ongoing political turmoil ensuring that the eventual outcome of the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU is as uncertain as ever. Asked how much impact they envisaged Brexit to have on their organisation, 42% of payroll professionals surveyed thought it would be a moderate impact, and 35% said it would be significant, while 23% anticipated little or no impact. A resounding 70% didn’t envisage Brexit requiring their payroll team to increase headcount. Only 10% said yes.

There are number of notable changes taking place in the payroll industry, not least the adoption of new technology, software development, automation, Real Time Information (RTI), and more global payroll activity. These have undoubtedly had a degree of influence on the upward salary trend. It can also be attributed to the ongoing developments within the profession and the level of complexity of legislation making payroll an ever increasing technical and specialist role.

Roles are also diversifying, as more payroll professionals are involved in data analysis. Payroll is a source of vast amounts of data, chronological, geographic, demographic and functional, from which a wealth of business information and strategic insight can be derived. Payroll trend analysis and predictive analytics are already providing organisations with a competitive advantage.

Additionally, the modern world has evolved far quicker than we have as humans. Our lifestyles are unsustainable unless we take time to mindfully care for our own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.Since we spend one third of our lives at work, it makes perfect sense that the workplace is the ideal setting to promote positive behaviour change. Sitting indoors all day working at a computer screen in a stressful job like payroll can be very detrimental to our health. There are four things wrong with that sentence; sitting, indoors, stress and screen. As humans we just weren’t designed for this all day every day. Working in an intense job like payroll, with the pressure of making sure everyone is paid on time and correctly, requires focus with no room for error. People who work in a job like this must take steps to protect their health. There are a multitude of things people can do proactively to improve their wellbeing but you have to choose what works for you, experiment with different things and then create habits.

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