The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

Payroll Employment Trends – how to find great people

Angela Cameron, Managing Director of Consult Recruitment gave a fantastic presentation at the Payroll Game Changer Conference. In this interview she answers some key questions about payroll employment trends and what payroll and HR can do to bring great people to the industry.


What are the trends in employment for the next 12 months? Is it going to get harder or easier to find great people?

The payroll job market is incredibly active right now.

The good news is that many companies are growing their payroll staff headcount and/or are finally investing in new payroll software. This means there are many more good opportunities out there for experienced payroll professionals.

The bad news is that there are very few ‘new payrollers’ coming through (or more accurately, very few companies willing to hire and train entry-level payroll people). This means the supply of payroll staff is going to be extremely constrained over the next 12 months. I believe this constraint will lead to rapid salary increases as companies fight to retain and attract top payroll talent.

What do you think the biggest challenges are in finding good payroll people?

I think the biggest challenge is the hiring manager (or company’s) mind set around recruiting the right person.

There are very few employers who are willing to hire and train people with no payroll experience (or with only overseas experience). What has happened over time is that the talent pool has aged and diminished, with no real replenishment in sight.

Unless this changes soon, I believe it will become so difficult to find local staff that many companies will have no option but to offshore their payroll function. So a shortage of new people entering the profession should be a massive concern to everyone – not just from a recruitment standpoint, but from the standpoint of ensuring the viability of the entire profession in New Zealand.

Payroll is one of the few careers that doesn’t have a clear entry path. Rather than wringing our hands about the lack of good payroll people, we all need to play our part by creating truly entry level roles, and offering training and development. Sure, it’s a lot easier to hire someone with experience into your team, but the reality is, that’s rapidly going to get even harder to do than it already is.

What are your tips on selecting the right payroll person for your team?

Review the resume but hire the person. Identify the soft skills that the best people in your current team possess (whether that’s a customer service ethic, accuracy, speed, ability to learn new technologies – whatever), and hire for those skills. It’s nigh on impossible to develop soft skills in an employee, but the technical stuff can be taught on the job.

Are good payroll people being missed out on? Is there anything either the payroll or HR industries could do differently to bring more people into payroll?

Companies such as IAG and Downer are doing exceptionally well with staffing their payroll teams because their hiring managers have decided to invest in training people with the right soft skills but who may be lacking local experience. In doing this, they’ve massively increased their potential talent pool, given some of their current staff mentoring and leadership opportunities, and created a huge amount of loyalty in their teams.

I spoke with one person at the Payroll Game Changer conference who had been hired in one of these companies a few years back and is now a Payroll Manager in a different company. He’s a big champion of the profession and still has a close relationship with his first manager, who had agreed it was time for him to take on more responsibility in another company, so was genuinely happy when he got the new role – I guess in part because she had enough good people in her talent pool that losing this person wasn’t a massive threat to her team. I think that’s the gold standard of best practice.

Yes, it’s a big change in mind set for most companies, but I really believe the only sustainable approach for the industry is if each of us takes responsibility for growing local talent, rather than all of us going fishing from the same rapidly shrinking pool of people.

To contact Angela visit


3 comments on “Payroll Employment Trends – how to find great people

  1. Tania
    May 18, 2015

    As a hiring Payroll Manager I totally agree. I was finding it hard to employ Payroll people with the right attitude and fit for our team so our last 2 employed have had no payroll experience but the right attitude and the right office background for a good start. They have been an awesome pick and are doing fantastic.


  2. Angela Cameron
    May 19, 2015

    Thanks Tania – its great to hear that it has worked out well for you (and it isn’t actually as scary as it first seems). It is so fulfilling also to know that you are enabling someone to start a rewarding career, and also supporting the people development of your industry. One of our core values at Consult is “We Are Nothing Without Great People” – and I firmly believe that developing a strong, cohesive team is vital to the success of business. Awesome stuff!!


  3. angelaatkins
    May 19, 2015

    Hi Tania – what a great approach. It may take more time to train someone on the technical skills but much harder if someone isn’t the right team fit or has to unlearn things from other systems.


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This entry was posted on May 18, 2015 by in Employment Trends, Finding great people, HR, Payroll.
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