Will Finance professionals receive a pay rise in 2022?


2021 was once again special year. Some sectors did exceptionally well, others suffered heavily from the corona pandemic. But employers and employees alike are convinced that the hard work of the past year should be rewarded with a pay rise and/or bonus, according to the annual global salary survey that was just released by international recruitment firm Robert Walters.


Marie Parmentier, managing consultant at Robert Walters and specialist in recruiting finance professionals, explains what these expectations are.

Most sought after finance professionals

Over the last year we saw the number of finance jobs increase by 17% compared to 2020. As in previous years, mainly accountants (+11%), business controllers and financial controllers are in great demand (+10%).  But we also noticed a substantial increase in the number of vacancies at management level. "Indeed," says Marie. "In 2020 and the first half of 2021, senior finance professionals remained considerably loyal to their organisations to weather the pandemic. They put their own ambitions aside for a while, but since the summer we have seen a clear turnaround: finance managers are again looking for a new challenge. Organisations therefore need to recruit new staff, hence the remarkable 22% increase in the number of finance manager vacancies."

Salary increases: reality versus expectations

The same Robert Walters salary survey also revealed that one in four employers would be willing to give a pay rise to finance professionals within the organisation, mainly management level staff. Hard work and loyalty will be rewarded, it seems, as 66% of employers surveyed also plan to pay out a bonus to their employees.

"Just as well," says Marie. "The pressure on the finance department was extremely high during the pandemic, and employees were often at their wits' end. They therefore expect something in return." The Robert Walters salary survey confirms this: one in two finance professionals does indeed expect to receive a salary increase. And those expectations are relatively high: for example, one in four respondents hopes to receive a pay rise of 6-10%."

Expectations are also high at bonus level: over one in two (55%) hope to get one. A bonus between 6 and 10% of the gross annual salary: that is where most expectations lie (44%).  15% of the finance professionals surveyed even hope to receive a bonus of 20% or higher.

"So for 2022, we indeed expect salaries for finance professionals to increase, especially for the most sought-after professionals within accounting, controlling, reporting and consolidation," says Marie. For senior management professionals, we expect considerable movement in the labour market, leading to salary increases there as well.

Salary not the most important thing

A salary increase and bonus are of course welcome, but remuneration is not the most important factor determining job satisfaction. Pleasant colleagues and the company culture are more important. The Robert Walters survey revealed that employees sometimes do not dare ask for a salary increase. The main reasons for this are because they feel their current salary is in line with the work they do (35%), or when their sector was hit hard by the corona pandemic (23%). 

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