Newly released regional employee earnings figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have spotlighted significant variations in Human Resources (HR) salaries across England.

The analysis, conducted by HR software provider Ciphr, has revealed a notable 52% pay gap between the highest and lowest-paid regions for the country’s 150,400 full-time HR managers and directors.

East of England Dominates HR Pay Rankings

HR professionals in the East of England emerge as top earners, with an impressive average salary of £67,172. This figure stands substantially higher than the region’s average full-time salary of £40,544. Surprisingly, HR salaries in the East outpace those in Greater London by approximately 7% and are 12% higher than in the south-east, averaging at £62,788 and £60,198, respectively.

The top five regions in England with the highest average salaries for HR managers and directors are as follows:

  1. East – £67,172
  2. London – £62,788
  3. South East – £60,198
  4. South West – £56,357
  5. North West – £50,615

Unfortunately, the ONS data did not provide comparable figures for Wales and Northern Ireland. However, Scotland’s HR managers and directors reportedly earn £48,601, with the UK average standing at £57,314.

East of England Leads in HR and Industrial Relations Officer Pay

In addition to HR managers and directors, the East of England boasts the highest-paying roles for HR and industrial relations officers, with an average salary of £39,636. This category includes professionals with titles such as HR specialist, HR generalist, HR consultant, diversity and equality adviser, recruiter, and personnel officer.

The West Midlands (£35,374) and the South West (£34,563) follow suit as the next highest-paying regions for these roles, both exceeding the UK average of £33,692.

Considerations Amidst Wage Growth Challenges

While HR salaries have seen an overall increase since the onset of the cost-of-living crisis in 2022, it’s important to note that real wage growth may vary. Inflation, which rose by 7.8% for the 12 months to April 2023, may have outpaced wage growth for many individuals during this period.

Interestingly, London and the South West were the only areas in England where full-time HR managers and directors experienced inflation-beating pay growth in 2023, with both mean and median average salaries witnessing increases over 7.8%. Similar above-inflation increases were observed for full-time HR and industrial relations officers in the South West and West Midlands.

Expert Commentary on HR Salary Trends

Claire Williams, Chief People and Operating Officer at Ciphr, commented on the findings, stating, “Pay is never the only consideration for people looking to change jobs or move areas – otherwise, everyone would simply down tools now and head to the East of England! But this ONS data is very useful to get a better understanding of what similar roles are being paid around the country.”

She emphasized the versatility of working in HR across various organizations and industries, highlighting the enduring value of HR professionals’ skills and strategic insights, regardless of their location or career stage.