Posted by: Jade Sweeney-Bowen

Posted on: .

What’s the latest news from the Reward market?

The Reward market has provided some fantastic opportunities over the last quarter at all levels both interim and permanent. We have seen a positive mix of Interim assignments, change projects and newly created Permanent roles along with some eye catching Executive level roles across the City and PLC.

The Junior Market 

It has been very active over the last few months for the Junior market, with a good variety of compensation, benefits and total reward roles across all sectors. We have had the highest number of Reward Administrator roles registered this financial year, which has been great for emerging talent. The difficulty has been the lack of candidates, though this is normal as bonuses tend to be paid out around April. Based on previous years we would expect to see new candidates coming through over the next few months along with further roles (due to budget reviews).

Mid to Senior Market 

The Mid to Senior level permanent market has remained stable over the last quarter, with an increase in senior level reward roles between £80,000 to £100,000. It has been promising for the retail market, with an evident spike in Reward and Analytics hires across our retail clients. Additionally, we have seen a rise in activity across the Leisure and gaming sectors, with several recent changes creating new opportunities for Senior Reward professionals with an appetite for change and innovation.

Speaking of innovation, we are starting to see companies seriously thinking about driving innovation through HR Technology. Organisations are now beginning to experience the start of a huge mobilisation of “Netflix” quality HR Technology products designed to drive engagement and simplify the end user experience. Some of the market leaders across PLC have piloted several AI and Augmented reality products, and are rolling out HR chatbots and Machine learning tools (Yes, the robots are coming to a workplace near you), to deliver a more personalised experience to the employee.

It has been interesting to see the bounce back for senior level benefits talent. This area had gone quiet over the past financial year, with benefits hires typically being at a junior level. We expect our volume of hires across our C&I clients to spike, as we enter a new financial year, bonuses are paid out and people move on.


We have seen a serious increase in operational Interim Reward roles to support through compensation reviews, with FS clients looking to bring in the £400-500 per day candidates, and more junior Reward talent being sought after across broader commerce and industry sectors.

Demand for HRIS implementation and upgrade specialists has remained stable across industries, with small/mid-size firms beginning their roll-outs. Workday experience is still a key skill required alongside other Tier 1 systems Oracle, SAP etc.

The Senior Interim market has remained sporadic, with focus on hiring technical and operational candidates at the £700-£900 level to manage the business as usual whilst Heads of Reward manage hot topic subjects. Hot on their agendas include Gender pay, SMR/SMCR and Rem Policies reviews, so organisations have been bolstering their team around them to take the pressure off and manage business as usual.

Senior - Executive level hiring

The volumes in hiring at the executive level remain consistent in the Reward market and have done for the last 18 months or so. Interestingly, areas of activity have been around investment hires in niche financial services organisations, and we have seen some notable movement in the commerce & industry arena across the retail, technology, FMCG, and pharmaceutical sectors.

Whilst the Banking arena has seen good volumes of mid-market hiring it has been very sparse at the top end, with firms opting wherever possible to promote from within to ease the talent bottle neck created 3-4 years ago when there a huge flux of talent brought into the sector. Whilst the retail and FMCG markets have certainly fluctuated, we have seen a number of investment hires at the top end, perhaps an indicator of firms trying to get their houses in order prior to Brexit and a further sustained period of uncertainty.

The investment hires within niche financial services have focused around private equity organisations and asset management firms. PE houses are clearly starting to see the merit of bringing in their own reward talent to look at both their internal population as well as their portfolio businesses. Not only does this reduce the excessive spend and reliance on the Big 4, but also brings in a more commercial and realistic Reward approach that these firms can often benefit from.

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