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Increasingly Complex Payroll Needs Drives Demand

Getting employees’ pay cheques right is one of HR’s core tasks, but as businesses become more complicated – from international operations to different types of contracts and increasing compliance requirements – payroll professionals with the right combination of skills and experience are in high demand.

This is challenging Canadian business leaders, who struggle to find the talent they need.

According to the Hays 2015 Canadian Payroll Salary Guide, half of employers say their biggest recruitment challenge is finding the credentials, system, or compliance knowledge they need.

Employees with the trifecta of skills, experience and personality fit are highly sought after. Compensation remaining the biggest recruitment challenge, with competitive market and career progression also rating highly as the factors driving employers’ hiring struggles.

More than 80 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries in 2015, but half of employers overall say they either are not meeting market rates, or are unaware of what the market rate is. Employers need to be aware of what their competitors are offering to ensure their packages are competitive. However, only one company can pay the most, and there are many other ways to compete for talent.

While salary was rated as the main reason to leave a company, in combination career progression, company culture, and benefits outweigh base compensation.

As employers address long-term talent shortages a succession plan is vital to ensure the talent strategy aligns with business goals. Just 20 per cent of payroll employers say they have a succession plan, and of those with a plan, 69 per cent say that less than a quarter of their employees know about it. These employers are missing out on an important retention tool. Employees who know about their potential career paths within a company are less likely to feel driven to seek new opportunities elsewhere.

Payroll professionals who are looking to maximize their market value should look at getting certified – those with certifications earned up to 20 per cent more than their uncertified counterparts, especially at senior levels – and try to get as varied experience as possible. Career progression planning should be a collaboration between employer and employee, so talk to your manager about the options for advancement and create a plan to get the career progression, skills, and new challenges you need to be fulfilled in your job.

Forward-thinking employers will create their own talent pipeline of agile employees. There can be hesitation to invest in employee training and accreditation support as employers are concerned employees will leave for a competitor when their course is completed. However, the bigger risk is in not upskilling your staff and ensuring you have the talent you need to achieve your business goals.

Training and development can be a strong retention tool, and will connect strategically to your succession planning. Look at moving individuals to different roles to get comprehensive experience across a range of jurisdictions, provinces, client groups, and types of pay. Where possible employers should give junior employees an opportunity to lead small teams and projects to help develop the technical and managerial skills needed for future leadership roles.

Companies without the same organizational flexibility can upskill their employees by training them on advanced tasks such as payroll accounting, involving them in implementations, and finding opportunities for them to develop their understanding of related tasks such as HR, benefits, and compensation reviews.

Learn more about the Canadian payroll market. Request the guide today.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.

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