Canadian HR Reporter

September 8, 2014

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Page 24 of 27

Canadian HR RepoRteR September 8, 2014 FeaTURes 25 billion in wages and benefits, $268 billion in statutory remittances to the federal and provincial govern- ments, and $94 billion in health and retirement benefits, accord- ing to the CPA. ere are also more than 190 federal and pro- vincial regulatory requirements to juggle. is trend will continue. Niche industry and multijurisdictional or international experience, as well as specific systems k n o w l e d g e o f PeopleSoft, SAP or cloud-based platforms, are in demand, accord- ing to the Payroll Salary Guide. And even after those criteria are met, employers place tremendous value on per- sonality fit — the most frequently identified recruitment challenge. Employers also cite considerable gaps at the entry level and mid- management level for payroll practitioners. Despite the fact that a rather stable payroll industry exists, we're seeing the beginnings of a squeeze resulting from employ- ers asking more from the current pool of talent, and an industry that must work harder to attract the next generation of profes- sionals. is is how a skills short- age sets in. Finding the right talent While hiring levels are projected to slow for 2014, according to the Hays/CPA survey, that doesn't mean a large exodus of pay- roll staff — the vast majority of employers (83 per cent) expect payroll staffing levels to remain the same and 12 per cent expect to increase their payroll headcount. As an industry, more must be done to communicate the exciting challenges and opportunities for career growth in payroll. e role is becoming increasingly com- plicated. ere are opportunities to grow skills at medium-sized companies or to specialize at large ones. But it doesn't end there. A ca- reer in payroll can lead to a career as a CFO — 12 per cent started their careers in payroll, according to a Hays survey of just more than 100 Canadian CFOs. Also, salaries in this industry are good. A payroll co-ordinator with one to three years of experience typically earns between $40,000 and $50,000 per year, while a pay- roll manager with five to 10 years of experience typically earns be- tween $70,000 and $80,000 — at the high end, it can be as much as $150,000. S a l a r i e s a re higher for prac- titioners who are certified by the CPA, especially for supervisory roles. Certification is a good idea anyway as employers overwhelm- ingly favour candidates with cer- tification, especially since the financial crisis. is requirement will only become more important. While the payroll industry has already undergone signifi- cant change, it must continue to evolve if it is going to address the challenges of an increasingly complicated business environ- ment. Otherwise, it will suffer the fate of many industries across Canada, where skills shortages are pandemic. Antony McElwee is senior manager of accounting and finance at Hays Can- ada in Calgary. For more information, visit fINaNCIal PlaNNINg Money issues top source of stress: survey Offering financial planning help to employees can ease worries, particularly for senior executives By Susan Stefura w e recently had a con- troller at a medium- sized company ask if we could help one of their senior executives. He had been going through financial difficulties, which were causing him a lot of stress. It was a small company that didn't have an employee as- sistance program (eap) in place and was looking to provide out- side professional help for this employee. is story is not unique. e 2013 Sun Life Canadian Health Index showed stress is a health issue for many Canadians. In fact, 77 per cent of the 2,400 Canadians sur- veyed by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Sun Life experienced excessive or uncomfortable levels of stress. More importantly, the top driver of excessive stress is personal fi- nances — which ranked even higher than the stress of personal relationships (see sidebar). is has potentially serious im- plications not only for the health and well-being of employees, but also for employers. More than one-half (52 per cent) of the re- spondents in the Sun Life survey, who said they were experiencing uncomfortable levels of stress said their productivity at work had been affected. Financially stressed employees are less productive, less engaged and spend more time away from work compared to employees who have less financial stress. Here's where financial planning can help. Whether it's short-term financial counselling or ongoing financial planning, working with a professional to sort through dif- ficult financial issues goes a long way toward relieving the financial stress employees are feeling. Workplace-based financial ed- ucation programs can be effective in helping employees make better financial decisions about their employer programs as well as other personal financial decisions. For example, providing a re- tirement planning workshop for employees within 10 years of re- tiring can help relieve any finan- cial anxiety about retirement. I'll never forget one client who told me that, in reviewing and discuss- ing his retirement plan, he didn't want me to use the word "retire- ment" — clearly, the very thought of retirement was a terrifying concept to him. Problem amplified in C-suite For a senior executive responsible for the success of an important division of a company, financial stress and distractions can have serious consequences for the company. Bottom-line produc- tivity and profit can be directly impacted by a financially stressed senior executive. A senior management group can benefit from more personal- ized financial planning. Senior executives know the importance of planning and being in control of financial outcomes. For this reason, they are often very inter- ested and engaged in the financial planning services offered to them. Senior executives often don't fully understand or pay attention to all of the different elements of their total compensation packag- es. ese can include short- and long-term performance incen- tives, share purchase plans, stock options, deferred share units, retirement compensation ar- rangements and supplementary pension plans, to name a few. How all of these programs and benefits fit into the senior execu- tive's overall financial plan is even less clear. Offering comprehensive finan- cial planning to a senior executive — as part of his total compensa- tion package — can help make sense of it all. e senior execu- tive will emerge with a better un- derstanding of his compensation package and how it ties into his total financial picture. More importantly, a less- stressed executive will not only be happier but will also be more fo- cused on his role, which can only mean good things for the long- term success of his employer. The potential benefits to a company of providing workplace- based financial planning include: •increased productivity •greater employee engagement and retention •satisfaction with salaries and compensation •increased benefit and pension plan participation •reduced absenteeism and dis- ability leave •potentially lower drug plan costs. Susan Stefura is a principal at Bespoke Financial Consulting in Toronto. She can be reached at susan@bespoke-, (647) 980-9113 or visit for more information. STreSSfUl SiTUaTionS Sources of excessive or uncomfortable stress top drivers of excessive stress, according to the 2013 Sun Life Canadian Health Index. Personal or household finances 41% Trying to maintain a budget 29% Personal relationships 29% Personal health issues 28% Unexpected expenses 26% Work life 25% Saving enough for retirement 23% Trying to maintain a healthy diet 21% Family member health issues 20% Not enough time in the day 19% Government spending and cuts 15% State of the economy 14% Trying to find a job 14% Caring for dependent children 9% Caring for dependent adults 7% Daily commute 6% Other 6% Source: Sun Life Financial financial stress and distractions can have serious consequences for the company. Bottom-line productivity and profit can be directly impacted. Many payroll professionals become CfOs eVolVING < pg. 24 The role is becoming increasingly complicated. There are opportunities to grow skills at medium-sized companies or to specialize at large ones.

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