Salary structure ranked as number one reward priority, XpertHR survey reveals

Salary benchmarking and grade structures are at the forefront of upcoming organisation reward plans, according to new research from leading online HR resource, XpertHR.

As coronavirus restrictions ease, the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt, with budgets remaining constrained. Yet competitive reward demands still need to be met. A recent XpertHR survey found that almost half of reward professionals (49%) identified robust pay and grading structures as their top priority for the year ahead.

For employers, these structures are the logic that underpins pay rates, job roles, and career paths. While for employees they explain their position within the company and how they can progress.

Despite their importance, 46% of organisations reported to not having existing structures in place, and of those that already do, an alarming 85% admitted to encountering problems with them. Common issues for organisations include inadequate scope for progression (46%), level pay market alignment (35%), clear career paths (30%) and grade drifting (26%).

Closely behind pay and grading structures as the top reward priority was salary benchmarking, which too was highlighted as a primary focus by nearly half of respondents (48%). The survey found checking salaries and reward packages against the current market is a widespread practice, with almost nine in 10 (88%) reward professionals reporting to do it.

With the impacts of Brexit and the global COVID-19 pandemic, organisations need to strike a balance between establishing competitive and fair salaries to attract and retain suitable staff, while keeping in-budget during what is a financially constraining time.

To address this challenge HR and reward professionals need to base remuneration decisions on solid evidence that is relevant and timely for their market and can be used to inform their organisation’s reward strategy. As such, XpertHR has launched its latest tool for HR and rewards professionals, Cendex, to do just this. Cendex enables organisations to recruit, retain and motivate their talent with total confidence, by providing live reward-data solutions, with intuitive tools and expert insight, all in a single, trusted platform.

Other notable reward priorities identified by survey respondents include employee benefits (34%) and affordability (32%). Each of these elements is covered through Cendex’s unique benchmarking data.

Ed Cronin, research manager, employee reward, XpertHR and Cendex says: “These headline results tell us that employers don’t want to leave reward spending to chance. They want to link employee reward to the actual labour market through high quality pay benchmarking. Businesses also want to use pay and grading structures to align their overall people strategy across an organisation. Cendex is here to help employers tackle these challenges.

“In the face of uncertainty, Cendex is a trusted guide to employers. We provide the very latest UK reward data and tools to enable HR practitioners to make effective, fair and evidence-based decisions when it comes to reward.”


About the data  

XpertHR’s survey on reward planning and priorities was conducted March 2021. Responses were received from 224 organisations. Available here.