Now in its twelfth year, the MR Recruitment Treasury Salary Survey always makes for an interesting read – and raises a number of important questions. Are treasurers valued and appreciated at work? Do treasury salaries accurately reflect the value that qualified professionals bring to the company? Mike Richards, treasury recruitment expert and founder of MR Recruitment, shares his views with Treasury Today.
Released at the end of March, the results of the 2014 MR Recruitment Treasury Salary Survey provide a unique insight into the treasury job market. The headline statistics show that, despite signs of recovery in the global economy, the average salaries of treasury professionals have dropped slightly from 2013:
||2013 average salary
||2014 average salary
Nevertheless, Richards, believes that – looking more broadly – the signs are positive. “We are beginning to see the overall pay package for treasurers increase year on year,” says Mike Richards, founder of MR Recruitment. “This is derived from the reintroduction of performance-based incentives such as bonuses which are currently ranging from 5% to 10% of the treasurer’s basic salary.” The following table, which has been exclusively provided to Treasury Today by MR Recruitment, highlights the added value that bonuses are currently bringing to a treasury professional’s pay packet.
||Average base salary
||Average car allow.
||Average total compensation
Source: MR Treasury Recruitment
Overall treasurers’ are fairly content with their pay, with 34% believing it is average while 31% see it as a comfortable wage. Twenty seven per cent however, feel underpaid in their current role. And this is particularly prevalent at more junior levels in the treasury department.
Although the treasury job market has been stagnant for a number of years following the events of the financial crisis, conditions are now changing for the better. “At the end of 2013, there were a number of movements at the senior level,” says Richards. “Since then the market has become increasingly active and this is a very encouraging sign. There are now more roles becoming available and more opportunities for treasury professionals to leverage their skills to gain pay increases over the coming year.” The 2014 Salary Survey demonstrated this improvement in conditions with 21% of respondents stating that their treasury department would increase in size in the next year, creating more positions.
The relatively stable levels of pay and the reintroduction of bonuses also resonate with Richards as positive signs for the treasury job market. “I think the market is beginning to turn the corner,” he says, “I don’t expect pay to reach the levels of seven years ago, however I do see both wages and bonuses creeping up over the coming years.”
The news of an increasingly active job market will be good news for the majority of treasurers, 78% of whom are looking for new opportunities, according to the Survey results. For Richards these statistics are down to the growth of treasury professionals as individuals. “In my experience treasury roles have a three to four year life cycle. The first year is all about learning the role, the second is about applying this knowledge and the third year is focused on refining your work and your role. At the end of this third year I find that tedium begins to sneak in.”
This is backed up by the fact that 62% of treasurers surveyed have been in their role no longer than four years. “With the increasing fluidity of the market I expect the frustration levels of treasury professionals to decline as they are able to move positions more freely,” he adds.
The Survey not only focuses on the pay of treasury professionals and job opportunities – it also looks at the factors which contribute to job satisfaction. The level of job satisfaction is positive overall for the industry with 68% of respondents happy in their role, although there is a bias towards the upper echelons of the treasury department.
“From my conversations with treasury professionals,” says Richards, “the key reasons for job satisfaction are power and control. The higher a treasury professional moves within the department the more control they have over the environment and direction of the department.” Richards believes that this is why at junior levels there is less job satisfaction. “You are at the learning stage of your career and if this is not managed correctly then frustration can begin to creep in.”
The Survey also highlights that 51% feel the department is valued within the company as a whole however, 24% feel the treasury function is undervalued. For Richards, this may be due to subsiding of the financial crisis and the spotlight now creeping away from treasury. “The treasury department came under the spotlight during the financial crisis,” says Richards, “and this may now be diminishing somewhat as conditions settle down. Treasurers may therefore feel dissatisfied because they were being praised and rewarded for all their hard work during the crisis. Now this has subsided they are continuing the hard work but with less recognition. This could also affect the leverage they have when trying to obtain sign off on new projects and obtain funding.”
This means that treasurers will need to continue to raise their profile within the organisation and make their voice heard. Working as a strategic business partner and turning treasury into a value creator rather than a cost centre will be equally important.
The 2014 MR Recruitment Salary is still open for treasury professionals to participate in and updated results will be posted later in the year. The survey is also expanding to include specialised regional studies for both the United States and Switzerland.
To take part in the survey please visit http://www.treasuryrecruitment.com/en-gb/salary_survey/