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Morgan McKinley 2019 Human Resources Salary Guide

Written by: Natalie Limerick 27.12.2018
Published on: 4 Jul 2019



2019 Human Resources Salary Guide

The 2019 Human Resources Salary Guide covers the recruitment trends of professionals, covering London, the Home Counties and the South West.


2018 was a buoyant year across the HR world, with lots of change happening in a wide range of industries. This cumulated in a 51% increase in roles when compared to 2017. The HR industry continued to be highly client led and businesses asked for more specific skill sets, often combining multiple specialisms to drive cost saving.

The changing political environment put businesses under pressure to improve their rates of retention and increased the importance of being able to attract the best staff available. This manifested in significant recruitment across Reward, Benefits & Compensation, where innovative payment structures and diverse benefit programmes are now necessary to drive internal engagement and attract talent to a business. A spike in Learning & Development roles was also seen as companies took steps to drive internal productivity and organically grow talent.

Businesses consistently looked to fill senior vacancies as experienced staff were required to support change programmes around regulatory updates and digitalisation - this was particularly prominent in the financial services sector. The interim market mirrored this, with a range of HR project roles being required.


  • Operational HR
  • Recruitment
  • HR Business Partner/Manager

We noticed a continual need for operational HR support - these roles formed the backbone of opportunities seen throughout 2018. There was also significant demand for recruitment and core HR managerial roles.

Whilst the above roles are consistently sought after, year-on-year, 2018 stood out from 2017 in the sense that Compensation & Benefits, OD and Learning & Development roles increased notably, with businesses wanting to improve retention and attraction.


Significant projects impacted the HR industry in 2018, including GDPR, Public Gender Pay information and the continuing trend to drive digitalisation within businesses. HR Project Managers and HR Business Partners have been brought in by businesses to implement and manage the appropriate policies to tackle these changes.

Brexit being just around the corner also affected the HR world - satellite offices have been established across Europe, in cities including Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and Hamburg. This manifested in the more senior roles requiring a certain level of international experience. It also drove up the hiring of recruiters with EMEA experience who can assist with overseas recruitment for multinational businesses. This said, the overall impact of the UK’s exit from the EU has not been as high as predicted on the HR industry - 87% of the HR hiring managers who responded to our survey said they have not changed their recruitment plans since the Brexit decision was made. This percentage is well above the average for all other disciplines, suggesting HR remains one of the least affected industries.

HR still leads the way in terms of offering flexible working. Nowadays, the availability of flexibility is used as a marketing tool to promote businesses - this trend will continue into 2019.

Artificial Intelligence was a big talking point in 2018, with some large organisations adopting technologies in a range of their recruitment strategies. As these systems become more refined and affordable, an increasing number of SME organisations will also implement the advanced technology.


The end of the year brought about a significant slow down in roles available which could be a reflection of Brexit uncertainties and is likely to continue into 2019 as we approach the ‘leave’ date. This said, with Brexit agreements (hopefully) becoming clearer, the Equalities Act and a rise in the living wage on the cards, it looks as though the coming year will be busy for HR hiring. 

Beyond 2019, the fact that IR35 is now being rolled out to the private sector a year later than expected means that 2020 will be busy as well.

Owing to the client led landscape, HR professionals should up their skills in 2019 or push management for more duties - this will increase your value and ensure you are as integrated as possible within the business.