2021   Payroll

Sector Overview 2021: Payroll

Published on 27th April 2021

Suffering from career stagnation after the setback of 2020? Stay ahead of the market with this update from Accountability.

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Payroll

The most significant change is the speed of hiring has dramatically increased. During the heights of pandemic restrictions in 2020, additional layers to the hiring process were added to support decision making in a risk averse climate. Recruitment hires were required to pass virtual interviews with multiple stakeholders, even up to C suite level, and often stringent psychometric testing to secure a role. This sharp focus on due diligence has continued since the incremental shift back to the physical workplace has commenced. However, accessibility to key decision makers in person, combined with favourable market conditions, has made an expeditious approach to recruitment a vital response to the rapidly evolving picture.

The modern payroll market

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The Debate

Working from home Vs Working in office

Despite the relaxation of COVID restrictions, most employers continue to offer the option of working from home. The median arrangement offered to existing employees and prospective hires is a rotational model which blends remote working and office attendance, such as 3:2 – 3 days at home, 2 in the office. The opportunity for flexibility can be a determining factor when applicants evaluate job profiles. Employers who insist on a return to a traditional working week, can miss out on candidates with the agility to perform at home and in the workplace. Many clients and candidates, report that this innovative approach to work can often produce a beneficial effect on business performance. In fact, many employees work longer hours as they buy back time from their daily commute. The erasure of this entrenched commuter culture, what some might call the “Rat Race”, has produced ameliorating effects on the opportunity of individuals to discover a better work life balance with a focus on mental health. It is a critical part of economic recovery to support retail and hospitality venues in urbanised centres. There is also an imperative to reconnect with colleagues through face-to-face engagement in terms of efficiency & customer service. However, for many employers with robust technological infrastructure in place, the ability to offer a flexible work schedule, aligned to an employee’s personal and professional needs, can elevate them as an employer of choice.


After career stagnation in 2020, many of us are looking for a reset; to drive our career forward and make up for lost time. However, as discussed, there are a complex set of factors at play when job offers are considered.
In the payroll industry, there is an appetite to acquire interim consultants that specialise in process stabilisation and governance, to prepare clients for the introduction of sophisticated HRIS, Time & Attendance, and payroll platforms. A highly skilled interim hire can provide a forensic and objective approach, but also the opportunity to partner with your existing team across Payroll, Finance & HR towards a collective outcome aligned to business requirements. A pre-emptive review also provides significant cost savings compared with hiring a third-party consulting firm beholden to internal targets & reporting lines.


At the most competitive level in the market, between $80 - $90K plus super, the demand for “end-to-end” payroll specialists is unprecedented (to use the buzz word of the COVID era). It is vital to present a compelling value proposition, and to be able to circumvent restrictive and protracted hiring protocol when in competition to candidates with specialist technical skills.


The tipping point

In the reviving market, companies are overwhelmed with direct applications and the urgent need to hire in various disciplines. The return to a candidate driven market can mean that extensive CV spamming on online job sites, can be counterproductive. Attracting the right level of candidate can be a challenge, and require hiring managers to take much time out of their day already busy day to screen the influx of applications.

I would encourage candidates to see the support of a specialist recruiter to guide you through a shifting and complex job market. It is my passion to gain an intrinsic understanding of a business and the structure & systems environment of their payroll function. This gives you the opportunity to align the components of a role – salary; flexibility versus location; career mentorship & progression; systems & projects – closely to your career drivers.

Download our full Market trends report here.

Our full market trends report also includes a helpful salary guide, and provides a reflection on 2020 and what you can expect in 2021 when hiring.