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Paying Respect to Payroll Professionals

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Having recruited Payroll professionals for the past four years, I have seen first-hand what a key role they play for an organisation. Payroll is critical function - for those that are seeking more information about this interesting career, read on…. ​

From a recruitment perspective, we are currently experiencing an extreme shortage of entry-level Payroll staff – those who earn between $50,000 and $70,000 per annum. This is happening for several reasons, including:

  • Those thinking about employment direction don’t really understand the Payroll career and all it brings

  • Employers are reluctant to take on candidates with little or no experience, but this is slowly changing as transferrable skills and attributes-based hiring becomes more common

  • Employers are often reluctant to hire job seekers from other countries, assuming that they don’t have an understanding of local New Zealand legislative requirements

And it’s not just junior candidates who are hard to find. We are also seeing a shortage of quality Payroll candidates at the management level. There are a few reasons for this. From my experience, staff shortages mean senior payroll specialists often spend longer in hands-on roles out of necessity as well as the fact that payroll work lends itself to contracting – so those that are senior/experienced may move into more gig-based work.

So what can we do to entice more people into the profession of Payroll?

Misconceptions of What Payroll Is

Payroll is one of those functions that can be taken for granted – it just “happens” in the background. Therefore there is a often a lack of understanding of the specialist skills, attention to detail, numeric skills and interpersonal qualities that great payroll team members usually have.

There have unfortunately been some fairly high profile payroll-centric stories in the media over the last few years – I am concerned this may influence those who are considering a move into payroll. In reality 99% of the payroll work being done is incredibly high-quality with hundreds of thousands of kiwi workers getting amazing, accurate payroll outcomes.

It would be great to see Payroll have specific qualifications and industry benchmarks, like, for example, Chartered Accountants. This would provide a regulatory body for Payroll, with regular training and updates to keep processes consistent across the market. It would also help during times of legislative change as Payrollers would have one centralised source to learn from. Finally, it would provide some sort of tiering system to benchmark Payroll roles because job titles are often company-specific and not market relevant.

What Can Be Done?

In order to overcome some of the talent-shortage challenges facing Payroll professionals and their employers we’d love to see:

  • Employers should be open to looking at candidate applications with international experience or those with less Payroll experience when hiring. Instead, they should look for enthusiasm, transferable skills and the capability to learn on the job with the right support and training.

  • Education providers should open courses to international candidates entering the New Zealand market – providing them with updates in local legislative requirements. This could also be useful for entry-level employees.

  • Industry leaders should develop and distribute a best-practice framework that operates across all businesses to standardise and support people working in Payroll jobs.

Working With Beyond Recruitment

Here at Beyond Recruitment, we have a team dedicated to the Accounting, Finance & Financial Services sector. We are passionate about matching professionals working in areas like Payroll with employers who are supportive and value their contribution to the business.

Get in touch with one of our team members today to talk more about shifts and trends in the Payroll market, and how we can work together to find your new job or team member.

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