Financial Services HR Leaders See Pay Issues as Top Priority

By Stephen Miller, CEBS May 19, 2011
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Over a third of senior HR professionals from the financial services industry view pay issuesas their most important HR priority, followed by talent acquisition(23 percent) and the redesignof the employee value proposition or “deal”(20 percent).

A May 2011 Towers Watson poll of senior HR professionals from over 60 of the largest global banking and financial services organizations revealed that two thirds of respondents believe that executive base salary levels had not yet stabilized, while there was general agreement that base salary levels for lower-level employees had stabilized. In addition, 40 percent identified risk adjustments to financials or incentive pools as the most expected shift in pay policies in the next 12 months. The shift represents a stronger focus on pay issues rather than other changes such as linkage of deferred vehicles to business unit performance (16 percent) or longer vesting periods (15 percent).

“Global financial institutions face many issues that connect human capital challenges across pay, performance, risk, regulation, culture and governance," said Mark Shelton, global co-lead of Towers Watson's Talent & Rewards Financial Services practice. "Given the dramatic evolution of pay policies and structures, sufficient linkage to other human capital priorities such as talent management, risk culture and engagement are essential.”

Reshaping an Industry

“The financial services industry is beginning to reshape itself in response to altered business environments and strategies," said Chris Fabro, global co-lead of Towers Watson’s Talent & Rewards Financial Services practice. "Many of these organizations need to fundamentally align their talent management and workforce practices to shifts in the business environment. Top of mind will be pay strategies that reinforce the desired culture, ensure market competitiveness, differentiate among people’s roles, skills and performance and deliver the right employee behaviors at a cost the organization can afford.”

Poll respondents were equivocal about the likelihood of regulators increasing the degree of global co-ordination in approaching industry regulation, with just over half believing that they would.

Stephen Miller, CEBS,is an online editor/manager for SHRM.​

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