Pay Most Important HR Priority for Financial Services Firms

May 17, 2011 ( - Over 40% of senior human resources professionals from the financial services industry identified risk adjustments to financials or incentive pools as the most expected shift in pay policies in the next 12 months, according to a Towers Watson poll.

The shift represents a stronger focus on pay issues rather than other changes such as linkage of deferred vehicles to business unit performance (16%) or longer vesting periods (15%).

A news release said the Towers Watson poll, which involved 130 senior human resources professionals from over 60 of the largest global banking and financial services organizations in the world, also indicated that over a third viewed pay issues as the most important Human Resources priority, followed by talent acquisition (23%) and the redesign of the employee value proposition or “deal“ (20%). In addition, two thirds of the group believe that public officer executive base salary levels have not yet stabilized, while there was general agreement that base salary levels for lower-level employees have stabilized.

The poll showed that the group was equivocal about the likelihood of regulators increasing the degree of global co-ordination in approaching industry regulation, with just over half believing they would.  

Chris Fabro, global Co-Lead of Towers Watson’s Talent & Rewards Financial Services Practice said in the news release: “The financial services industry is beginning to reshape itself in response to altered business environments and strategies. 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.”