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Salaries for professional occupations will grow by 3% in 2016

The guide is a comprehensive resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration. 

The Salary Guide enables employers and employees to benchmark salaries for 275 different permanent professional roles on a national and regional basis.

The roles that are the most difficult to fill are predicted to see salaries rising the most quickly in 2016, including those in the risk and compliance function within financial services firms (4.9%) and information technology roles (4.0% on average), particularly digital and IT security roles.

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented: “Businesses are actively seeking the skilled professionals they need to achieve their growth goals. With the growing supply and demand imbalance, salaries for specialised roles are expected to rise. Hard-to-fill roles are experiencing higher than average pay rises due to the increased competition for these candidates.”

Accountancy and finance

Starting salaries for accountancy and finance roles are predicted to rise on average by 2.2% across 100 positions in SME and large businesses.  Overall, there are higher rises on offer for more senior-level roles, reflecting the ongoing need for finance professionals who can add value through business partnering and providing strategic insight for the business, not just fiscal control.  The highest average rises for finance and accounting roles are around 4.0%, so hard-to-source senior and specialist professionals can expect a steady climb in remuneration prospects.

Table 1: accountancy and finance highest by role

Top three

2015 UK average

2016 UK average

% change

Financial analyst

&pound37,250 - &pound44,500

&pound37,500 - &pound47,500


Chief financial officer

&pound85,500 - &pound105,250

&pound85,750 - &pound112,500


Finance director

&pound62,250 - &pound102,250

&pound63,250 - &pound107,500


Financial services

Compliance remains top of the agenda for financial services firms as the sector balances revenue-generating activities and the need to remain compliant with heavy regulation. As such, nearly all (98%) finance directors reported that they are challenged in finding skilled financial services professionals. Salary raises for risk and compliance roles are predicted to increase by 4.9%, the highest average rise for any category within financial services in this year’s Salary Guide.

Starting salary increases for finance and accounting roles in the financial services sector are slightly outpacing finance and accounting within commerce and industry at 2.7% (compared to 2.3%).  Salaries for banking operations functions (including trade support, and back and middle office roles) are predicted to grow more slowly than the average for the category at 1.8%.

Table 2: financial services highest rises by role

Top three

2015 UK average

2016 UK average

% change

Senior operational risk manager

&pound70,000 - &pound102,250

&pound74,750 - &pound109,250


Junior compliance analyst

&pound21,500 - &pound33,250

&pound22,500 - &pound36,000


Head of operational risk management

&pound90,250 - &pound165,250

&pound97,250 - &pound175,000



Hiring within the technology function is predicted to see the greatest rise overall (4%). Digital technology and IT security functions are expected to see the highest raises, including digital technology specialists (7%) and IT security (6%).  Key drivers behind these substantial rates include the need to introduce innovation to drive growth and productivity, as well as the burgeoning technology sector itself, which is recognised as one key area to deliver future growth for the UK economy.

Table 3: technology highest rises by role

Top three

2015 UK average

2016 UK average

% change

Mobile applications developer

&pound31,250 - &pound56,250

&pound32,500 - &pound61,500


Web developer

&pound34,500 - &pound50,750

&pound36,500 - &pound55,000


Senior web developer

&pound48,500 - &pound62,000

&pound51,750 - &pound66,750


Administration and office support

As businesses pursue growth strategies, there is an increased need to enhance the internal structures required to support expansion activities and this is creating demand for talented administrative staff.  Average starting salaries for certain roles are predicted to grow beyond the average, including receptionists at 3.4% and administrative assistants at 3.2%.  The average rise for all roles across the function is predicted to be 2.1%.

Table 4: administration and office support highest rises by role

Top three

2015 UK average

2016 UK average

% change


&pound15,250 - &pound21,750

&pound15,500 - &pound22,750


Administrative assistant

&pound15,500 - &pound23,250

&pound15,500 - &pound24,500


Customer helpdesk

&pound17,750 - &pound20,500

&pound18,250 - &pound21,000


Sheridan added, “As the UK economy continues to rely on specialist professionals who are able to add value from day one, there is a growing need for businesses to offer candidates competitive market salaries. In the lead up to 2016, proactively benchmarking salaries could provide businesses clarity in meeting their retention and hiring needs. Ensuring star performers are receiving competitive remuneration helps businesses remain attractive to both existing staff as well as potential new recruits.  Also, as hiring requirements become clearer, benchmarking salaries will ensure budgets accurately reflect business needs.”


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