Business | Market | Tax

Remuneration, Reward & Retention: What’s happening in the recruitment industry?

The lasted APSCo event saw Samantha Hurley, Operations and Member Services Director at APSCo, present the results from their Remuneration, Reward and Retention survey.


On Wednesday 23 November, Recruitment Accountants hosted an APSCo members meeting at our London office. The event saw Samantha Hurley, Operations and Member Services Director at APSCo, present the results from their Remuneration, Reward and Retention survey.

Developed in response to member demand, the survey provides an insight into the talent market within the professional recruitment sector. This helps members to benchmark their businesses and consequently attract and retain the best people. The APSCo members were surveyed during the summer of 2022.

Read on to discover the recommended actions resulting from the survey’s findings…

Review pay and commission structures

The data showed average basic salaries for each job role, by region, and found that there is a significant difference between London and other areas. The figures showed disproportionately higher London salaries in mid-level management roles, such as business development managers and account managers.

This could be due to staff moving up the career ladder, and a desire for businesses to retain experienced staff. It could also be down to less available talent as remote working has seen people move away from the capital. With more workers seeking cheaper places to live, APSCo feels the industry could see more talent moving to northern regions.

There was a much smaller regional variation across basic salaries for senior consultants, with less than 3% difference for senior contract consultants between London and the north-west. In fact, some senior permanent consultants earned on average 4% more in the north-west. Are higher salaries simply a reflection of skills shortages?

Regarding commission structures, the highest percentages go, unsurprisingly, to frontline sales functions. Roles such as account management, business development and resourcing are awarded less of a percentage.

Less than half of respondents have increased commissions in the last 12 months. However, tweaking commission packages and looking at areas where no commission is paid, could be a good way to boost pay, without increasing basic salaries.

Pay and commission increases

Please note that the APSCo survey was conducted before the fallout from the Mini-budget. The findings showed that just over a third (34%) of businesses were planning to increase average salaries to match the cost-of-living increases.

By sector, 60% in the pharma and life sciences and procurement sectors were planning to increase salaries in line with the rise in the cost-of-living. However, only 20-40% of the other sectors planned to do the same.

Ensure you understand staff attrition

More than three quarters (76%) of respondents across all sectors have increased headcount by more than 10% in the last 12 months. More than half (54%) plan to increase by more than 10% in the next 12 months. The sectors with the biggest headcount growth plans were legal, engineering and technology.

Excluding ‘other’, the three top reasons for staff leaving were: being headhunted (29%), higher pay (22%) and promotional opportunities (19%).  Although there was a very healthy debate at the London member’s meeting on how these are not actual reasons for leaving your current employer.

To truly understand staff churn, businesses must undertake robust exit interviews, and analyse and act upon the results. APSCo is looking into further support for members in this area.

Offer flexible staff benefits

The pandemic has changed the way we work, and more people are adopting hybrid, or totally remote, working models. Some recruitment firms have even followed the PwC model of a four-day working week. Supporters feel this has little impact on productivity – while providing big wins in terms of employee engagement and retention.

Employer expectations may become harder to align as employees become increasingly concerned about their physical, mental and financial wellbeing. So businesses might want to consider reviewing rewards and benefits with employees.

For example, research across commercial and industrial sectors outside of recruitment suggests that many companies are moving away from a ‘one size fits all’ benefits package to a more flexible menu. This is designed to suit particular lifestyles at particular stages of life and includes volunteering days, wellbeing programmes and financial wellbeing support.

Review training and development plans

One of the important factors of staff retention is to ensure that they are being trained and developed in their careers. Nearly half (47%) of companies said that they grow their own staff through training and development.

While an average of 73% have a learning and development plan, the percentages varied significantly when looking at individual job roles and seems to prioritise frontline sales. The most surprising statistic was the percentage for C-Suite and director, which drops to 58%, suggesting that firms are potentially undervaluing leadership development.

About APSCo

APSCo logo

APSCo is the trade body of choice for the recruitment sector. They deliver expert support and intelligence for real advantage, raise standards to differentiate and drive value across stakeholders and maintain a powerful and unifying voice for the membership.

APSCo Talent Development is a member service which aims to support members in growing their businesses by helping them:

  • Attract and retain the best talent
  • Raise standards of performance through the development of individuals
  • Gain internationally recognised qualifications

Training is provided to meet the needs of recruiters, leaders and specialists working in recruitment businesses and is delivered in multiple formats – online, via zoom and face-to-face.

What is common to all APSCo training, is that it is delivered by specialists in their field with extensive experience and knowledge of the professional recruitment market.

Need advice?

If you need advice on how to grow your recruitment business, call our friendly team on 0845 606 9632 or email

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