Charles Cotton, reward and employment conditions adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD): The Latest CIPD research shows a growth in the workload of most reward functions, but little increase in numbers employed. Instead the void has been filled by reward consultants, and in the vast majority of cases quite successfully.
Provisional findings from the CIPD’s 2008 Reward management survey, to be released in February, cast an interesting light on this topic. Not only do the findings show how reward practitioners are getting on with their consultant colleagues, including those in recruitment, but it also gives a useful insight into which reward issues practitioners have been grappling with and have required outside help to deal with.
Over the past three years, 65% of the 603 employers in our sample reported an increase in the amount of reward work in their organisation, while 35% reported the level had remained constant. By sector, private sector service firms (70%) followed by public service employers (64%) experienced the greatest increase in reward work. By size, larger employers experienced the greatest increases in reward work.
However, during this period, just 24% of employers took on extra staff to help them to deal with this increase in the reward workload. To help them square the circle of more reward work but no more reward employees, many employers (47%) have turned to using a reward consultant, with private sector service firms and voluntary sector employers leading the way.
Interestingly, while the demand for reward consultants is projected to drop, just under two-thirds of employers forecast an increase in the amount of work that they will be dealing with. Also, only around a quarter of employers predict that they will be taking on more staff to deal with the extra workload. So either most employers will be requiring their reward staff to work even harder or they will be forced to employ consultants to help square this circle.
What are some of the implications from this research? On the face of it, recruitment consultants may be less busy as employers do not predict an increase in employee numbers. However, these same employers also do not predict an increase in the use of consultants, so they may in fact be forced to recruit more staff to deal with the extra work.
Charles Cotton is reward and employment conditions adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)