Debi O’Donovan: Prepare to meet 2013 challenges

Happy New Year!

If, like myself, you used the break to take stock of the direction your life is taking, then perhaps you have been considering your career.

Not long ago, I was chatting to a couple of consultants from a leading reward recruitment consultancy. They told me how they have seen a distinct change in the type of skills and experience employers are demanding of top-level reward and benefi ts directors.

The number of job specs seeking technical expertise and compliance knowledge alongside excellent senior leadership ability has risen, not least in financial services, where bonuses now have to comply with Financial Services Authority regulations. Reward directors who meet these criteria frequently command salaries well above those of their own human resources directors.

Reward and benefi ts directors have always had to be on top of their numbers, be it with pay budgets, bonus design or pension deficits, and be able to speak the language of the finance department. This puts them in a good position to aid the commercial interests of their organisations.

This is worth considering as we go into 2013. Your organisation probably needs all the commercial help it can get to grow or maintain a steady path during a turgid economic period. So will you be stepping up your commercial game? (see HR needs a mind for business). Here at Employee Benefits, we have enjoyed watching many readers come into this industry and develop their careers to take top jobs, while working hard to give you the information, advice and networking you need to do your jobs.

During 2013, we will continue to do this via our newly launched Employee Benefits Academy, Employee Benefits Pensions and Workplace Savings Summit, Employee Benefits Connect, as well this print magazine and our recently relaunched website.

A particular area where we have beefed up our coverage is pensions and related services. For many HR people, pensions and investments are as unfamiliar as foreign lands, but these are lands HR are now responsible for. This does not mean they have to be experts, but they need to know what questions to ask, who to turn to and when they are not doing the best they can for staff.

So 2013 will bring many challenges, but with challenges come opportunities.

Debi O’Donovan, Editor
Follow on Twitter @DebiODonovan