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2017 salary survey - are salaries increasing for charity finance and HR staff?

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2017 salary survey - are salaries increasing for charity finance and HR staff?

With an ongoing need to improve efficiencies, adhere to new regulations and implement the latest best practice policies, charity finance and HR roles are continually evolving - but are salaries doing the same? Here's the summary from our recruitment specialists in these fields.

For all the finance and HR salary tables, plus those for fundraising, marketing and more, view or download the full 16-page survey here.



With the importance of well-run charity finances (and the consequences of getting it wrong) having been vividly demonstrated in recent years, it's no surprise that charities both large and small continue to seek top quality finance professionals to maintain high standards of governance.

That keeps the demand for talented, efficient and highly capable candidates consistently strong, and the past year's certainly been no exception. Whether qualified or non-qualified, permanent or temporary, from junior assistants to director level, opportunities for skilled candidates are easily found.

But it can be altogether more difficult for organisations to attract and retain the people they need. While finance skills are among the more transferable between sectors, many organisations are still reluctant to consider applicants without significant (and recent) charity sector experience, restricting the options to a limited pool of candidates, the best of whom will often have a number of competing offers.

Conversely, others are actively keen to attract candidates from outside the sector in order to bring a more commercial sensibility to the team, but struggle to do so because of the disparity in salaries.

The results of either approach are fairly similar though when it comes to remuneration. Those looking within the charity sector will often need to raise their offer to fend off rival bids, and continue to offer regular increases to avoid their star talent being swiftly poached away.

Those looking to the commercial sector won't necessarily need to match or exceed the candidate's current salary, since the desire to join the charity sector is more often motivated by other factors - but nevertheless offers may need to be raised in order to reduce the pay differential to a level the candidate will accept.

Either way, salaries are driven upwards, and that's reflected throughout our table this year, with moderate to (in some cases) fairly substantial increases across the board.

And with greater crossover between the charity and commercial sectors we're gradually seeing the pay gap between the two begin to narrow - which in the long-term may benefit charities, who can already appeal to the jaded corporate accountant with a significantly better work/life balance and the opportunity to do something they feel passionately about.

Notable trends

The strongest rise in demand we've seen over the past year has been for Finance Business Partners, both in terms of the number of vacancies and the salaries they command, and that's likely to continue as charities seek to improve efficiency and connect the organisation's financial and operational activities more closely.

One other trend of note: while the total number of opportunities remains high, we're seeing a slight but noticeable shift towards fixed-term, temporary and interim contracts in place of permanent positions, perhaps suggesting that some are taking a more cautious approach in light of uncertainties over future government funding, and the potential consequences of leaving the European Union.


Human Resources

The key trend we've observed in HR over the past twelve months has been an increasing move towards specialist roles - fewer generalist HR Managers for example, but more specialists in Employee Relations, Rewards & Benefits or Learning & Development.

Meanwhile the demand for HR Business Partners has continued to grow where, as in finance, there's a drive to align the operational and HR functions more closely, improving understanding and making them better able to achieve the organisation's goals.

These developments don't appear to have had a significant effect on salaries so far, although the figures have continued to nudge gently upwards.

That's not to say there's been little change in other respects though. Like those working in Policy and Research, HR professionals have faced a recent raft of new rules, directives and procedures, and with these more than likely to continue in the current climate, keeping on top of the latest regulations and best practice guidelines has become one of the most important qualities a charity HR professional can demonstrate.

Flexibility is becoming an increasingly important quality too, as we're noticing a number of roles that have would have been offered on a permanent basis in the past now being offered on more flexible, short-term or temporary contracts, leaving organisations more room for manoeuvre to adapt to the unpredictable course of the next few years. This may become an increasingly common pattern until the political and economic landscape is sufficiently settled for charities to make longer term plans with confidence.


If you'd like any more information on salaries within any area of finance or human resources, please call the team on 020 7820 7340, email or

Meanwhile for the complete figures for these and all other major charity job functions, view or download the full survey here.

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