Marketing and data professionals have emerged as the financial winners in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, witnessing some of the biggest salary increases as businesses hit the ground running with revised growth strategies that include increasing headcount, driving customer growth and supporting demand.
According to recruitment specialist Robert Half nearly three-quarters (73%) of senior business leaders report that they are more confident in their growth prospects for the next 12 months than they were last year, with many 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.
Analysis reveals that the marketing sector – including design, digital, marketing and communications – has seen one of the highest rises in salaries over the past six months (up 8.6%). It is these professionals’ expertise in increasing awareness, consideration and action, which is essential to driving customer growth and loyalty.
The salaries of business intelligence and data analytics professionals have also gone up (+7.7%), as firms look to them to identify focus areas for growth, provide insights that can support hiring and marketing strategies, and ensure that businesses are using their resources effectively.
Meanwhile the pay of software development and testing professionals has increased (+7.2%) as business leaders gear up for rising 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.
However, the largest increase (+24.5%) has been witnessed by HR teams. Businesses are increasing headcount to drive growth, and to manage this they require talented, experienced HR teams who are able to make hires at speed.
By comparison, median starting salaries in finance and accounting increased by an average of 2.5% in the past six months, while starting salaries in financial services increased by 0.5%.
Commenting on the highest median starting salary increases, Robert Half senior managing director for the UK, Ireland, UAE and Benelux Matt Weston said: “Having been among the first to be cut during the pandemic, 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 have increased by 4.8% in the past six months, but salaries for tech transformation roles have increased by 6.9%.
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.”
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