Demand for talent, reward and learning professionals is particularly high. Jonathan Stringer, associate director of HR recruitment at Robert Walters Midlands, said he expects the trend to continue as employers look to restructure their reward packages.
“Looking ahead, with companies likely to take a creative approach to pay structures and offer employees more choice about benefits, we expect to see renewed demand for talented professionals across many roles," he said.
Pay for HR professionals in the financial sector is particularly high. HR directors in this sector based in London can expect to see their pay rise to £220,000, up from £200,000 in 2013.
Ben Wood, manager of HR recruitment at Robert Walters, said this is related to the image problems the banks have had since the financial crash. "Banks are ploughing resources back into people management as the sector works hard to repair reputational damage and improve staff morale," he said.
The region with the highest proportion salary increase was the Midlands, where top-end pay rose from £140,000 to £170,000.
The report also found external HR recruitment was sluggish in 2012/13 as companies looked to cut costs and develop from within.
Dona-Mirelle Battat, executive director of recruitment firm Digby Morgan, agreed large organisation are focusing on internal talent. “Until they can move into real growth mode, many organisations are happy to promote from within rather than look externally for the big hires,” she said.
However, she added HR director opportunities in mid-sized companies are likely to rise. "Mid-sized businesses are looking for HR directors to lead the talent agenda as they think about developing and building their capability internally,” she said. “This is where some exciting new opportunities lie."