Do HR professionals have a good nose for salaries?

Compensation and benefitsSalaries in segment

It happens very often that personnel professionals in companies give a slight sigh during a job interview when it comes to applicants and their effusively high salary expectations. Applicants often don’t know, or have distorted imaginations about real salary range on a position they are applying for. Paylab tried to find out whether HR professionals have a good estimate for salaries. The fact is that “salary vision versus reality” is a challenge not just for applicants but also for HR professionals. We found it out on a special conference HR days, which took place in October 2016 in Prague (Czech Republic), and was a part of the biggest Czech job expo – Profesia Days 2016 Prague.

Paylab team tried to do a small experiment among HR professionals. The team prepared a questionnaire with a possibility to join a competition for the three-course dinner at a fine restaurant in Prague. They tried to find out whether people on the other shore of a river – personnel professionals in HR would be able to estimate salaries of their colleagues. We have been asking particularly about average monthly income of a RECRUITER, an employee, who is responsible for recruiting new employees. To make it even harder, they were supposed to estimate salaries not just in Czech Republic, but also in three neighboring states- Slovak Republic, Poland and Hungary. Given the fact that we did not want to confuse them with Euros, Czech crowns, Hungarian Forints and Polish Zloty, respondents used same currency. In general, we met with very astonished reactions, different kind of grimaces, which were the proof of hard thinking.

HR positions


103 people were involved and their estimates were in general 15-20% higher than the real average monthly income of a recruiter in a given country. This can be caused by a fact that most of personnel professionals, who participated on this conference, are operating in a capital city or nearby, so they did not take into account regional differences, which are the main differentiator of salaries. Some personnel professionals could be confused by position’s specificity. More than 10 other specific working positions are defined in a field of HR. For example HR manager, HR Business Partner, Career Advisor, Education Specialist, Compensational and Benefit Specialist, Coach, HR assistant etc… Estimating salaries in other countries was a pure lottery.

Resulting experiment confirmed our hypothesis that even professionals can’t always hit the right spot. They also need actual and verified statistics from a work market. In a process of selection or personal audit, they can use a special Paylab tool, which offers them detailed analysis of salaries emphasized on regional context, on financial and non-financial benefits connected with a certain position. From our survey, we also found out that HR professionals emphasis on actual data, reputation, and the size of a sample when it comes to process of selection of a salary analysis supplier.

salary analysis criteria

In today’s online world, information about salaries on individual positions is freely available on salary comparative websites. Paylab publishing even actual average salaries on working positions in certain countries, so, in very short time, people can gain information about how much many employees make in particular fields. So how much money can people make in a HR field in Visegrad Group? You can always find actual numbers, from last 12 months, in local currency here: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. For position HR director, please, use Top management category.

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Communication and Market Research Specialist with focus on Compensation & Benefits