Professionals with the skills to support short-term growth are the big winners in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, according to new data analysis.*
With nearly three-quarters (73%) of senior business leaders reporting that they are more confident in their growth prospects for the next 12 months than the 12 months prior, many are investing in talent that can enhance growth strategies, pushing up demand and subsequently salaries in some sectors.
Robert Half experts reviewed salary data from thousands of placements across more than 200 finance and accounting, financial services, technology, HR and marketing roles, finding that median starting salaries for professional services roles have increased by 4.9% over the past six months.
Businesses are hitting the ground running with revised growth strategies that include increasing headcount, driving customer growth and supporting demand. Analysis reveals that the four areas experiencing the highest wage growth over the past six months relate to these plans:
- HR (+24.5%)
Businesses are increasing headcount to drive growth, and to manage hiring processes and onboarding they require talented, experienced HR teams who are able to make great hires at a fast pace
- Marketing (+8.6%)
Including design, digital, marketing and communications, these professionals are responsible for increasing awareness, consideration and action, which is essential to driving customer growth and loyalty
- Business intelligence and data analytics (+7.7%)
Data analytics and business intelligence experts provide information that identifies focus areas for growth, providing insights that can support hiring and marketing strategies, and ensure that businesses are using their resources effectively
- Software development and testing (+7.2%)
Business leaders are preparing for increased customer volumes by working with DevOps professionals to strengthen and overhaul systems. Ultimately, organisations need sales of their products and services, which means they must be able to handle heightened demand
Commenting on the highest median starting salary increases, Matt Weston, Senior Managing Director for the UK, Ireland, UAE and BeNeLux, said: “Having been amongst the first to be cut during the pandemic, HR and marketing roles are now being created and backfilled at incredible pace, creating voracious demand with limited supply.
“These roles, along with analysis and DevOps roles, are on the front-line of business growth, supporting demand generation and helping to manage increased customer demand. However, the immediacy of the need is likely shielding more consistent demand in compliance and digital transformational roles.”
Despite the significant increases in the areas of the technology sector above, the sector average increase was 4.8% over the past six months, reflecting more consistent demand for skilled tech talent.
While businesses may be focusing on short-term growth, long-term transformation projects designed to extend digital capabilities and futureproof organisations are continuing in the background. Technology median starting salaries for technology roles have increased by 4.8% in the past six months, but salaries for tech transformation roles have increased by 6.9%.
Matt Weston added: “Steady business growth through technology is a long-term strategy for many businesses, and as they continue to digitise and automate, and improve systems already in place, technology talent will stay in demand. However, skills are, and always will be, in short supply.
“The pace of technological development means that tech professionals must constantly update and learn to ensure their skills stay relevant, and therefore there is always a slight lag – and those ahead of the curve are able to command higher salaries as a result.”
Functional, but still essential roles remain in high demand – for example within the finance and accounting, and financial services sectors. However, salaries within these sectors are not enjoying the same meteoric increases as others in professional services. Median starting salaries in finance and accounting creased by an average of 2.5% in the past six months, while starting salaries in financial services increased by 0.5%.
*Data for the study was collated for an update to Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide, which includes salary data for more than 200 roles by region, as well as analysis on the latest hiring trends across the UK.