HR Professionals: Want a Raise? Start Setting Pay (Or these 5 Other Things)


It’s an often overlooked fact: human resource managers who set the salaries for their people are more apt to be compensated better themselves. Just having this responsibility creates the ideal environment for fighting for the best wages in HR. Some HR professionals may already realize this; others are just starting to wake up to this.

Why Managing Compensation Matters to HR Pocketbooks 

In our analysis of PayScale data, we found that, across all industries, individuals who set pay made higher salaries themselves. HR professionals are no exception. Gaining the added responsibility to set pay is the equivalent of giving ourselves a much-deserved raise. In contrast, by not taking on this responsibility, we could be missing out on earning a higher base salary over the lifetime of any HR career.

The management tasks that rank the highest for their correlation to higher pay include (in order):

1. Setting pay grades
2. Promoting employees
3. Hiring and firing
4. Reviewing performance reports
5. Mentoring and advising workers
6. Supervising employees

How can HR professionals ignore this or allow others to take this responsibility when we are the most qualified to handle this aspect? It’s time to take up the lead and not only help our companies, but help ourselves.

Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. 

The PayScale 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report demonstrated that shared responsibility for compensation management happens between HR and CFOs. Current figures indicate that only 49% of HR leaders take charge of organizational compensation structures and pay grades, although 64% of HR folks don’t think they should have to answer to the Finance department anymore.  With less than half of HR professionals setting compensation structure, we’re not just losing our seat at the table, we’re leaving money on the table as well.

Set the Salaries for Your People; Set the Stage for Better HR Earnings

It is not just wallet-serving to push for pay-setting responsibility, it makes real business sense as well. Those of us who work in human capital management know our people and our organizational goals better than anyone else. We are keenly aware of how well our company pays people, and where we may be falling short. It shows up in the corporate culture, and in our reports that reflect our abilities to recruit and retain the best employees.

What do you think?

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts, ideas, and comments below.

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5 Comments

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  1. 1
    Peggy

    When you work for a company that does not care about their employees and actually says, “you can be replaced!”, there is not much you can do. I love my job and that is the only reason I stay. I am very underpaid. I have been here for going on 11 years and have had two raises. When they switched insurance, they found they would save money if they kept one dept. with the policy. They kept me on it which it raised my premium. This was done without my knowledge. When I realized this, I confronted them and they gave me a raise. As soon as I was put on the new policy they took the raise away. How do you suggest I demand a raise???

  2. 2
    Richard

    I have been with my company for more that 15 years. The position I was hired for I have yet to do. I have had two raises that amounted to a mere $0.50/hr. Doesn’t go far since the last was 14 years ago.

    In my present position I am underpaid by $3.50/hr.

    Just as Peggy stated, “if you don’t like it, leave”! What a way for mid sized corporate America to treat their employees.

  3. 3
    Debra DeWeese

    HR is so much more than administrative functions. We are the heartbeat of the company. To call it Human Capital Management is already a disconnect. We are about people. Part of our job is to strike balance between company goals and vision while managing standards and mindful of employee perspectives and experience. Further, it is our job to work closely with Finance to manage headcount responsibly, work closely to pay appropriately, and create an environment whereby people enjoy going to work and doing their jobs. HR deserves a seat on the C-team to help guide the business not only from a compliance standard but far beyond by assessing what’s working, what’s not, and making recommendations that ultimately effect profitability. Poor morale directly effects productivity and the bottom-line. There are effective ways to respectfully manage people, even under stressful circumstances. Times are changing and we can be catalysts to help companies re-define HR, starting with it being called Human Relations.

  4. 5
    Tess

    Great feedback and insight folks!

    Human Resources can be and IS so much more than just sitting in the corner office hoping to make a change. It’s about stepping up and being accountable for our careers and the future success of our companies’ biggest asset: PEOPLE!

    How are you taking your place beside the decision makers at your organization?

    Tell us what’s working best and what areas you are struggling in? We want to know more!

    – Tess

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