A quarter of European companies have a limited overview of HR and personnel costs

25 May 2021

Brussels, 25 May 2021 – A survey conducted by HR and payroll specialist SD Worx across companies in eight European countries shows that one in four companies have little or no insight into their HRM and personnel costs, while almost three in ten companies monitor staff efficiency very little or not at all. In other words, there is still quite a lot left to do to map out – and refine if needed – a large number of companies' human resources.

As an HR and payroll service provider, SD Worx surveyed the extent to which companies have a full and detailed overview of their HR and wage costs. The study shows that 26% of companies in Europe have rather limited or no insight into what they spend on HR and wage costs on a monthly or annual basis. 

This number is even higher in France (44%) and Austria (41%). By way of comparison, more than eight in ten companies in Germany (83%), the Netherlands (82%), Ireland (81%), Belgium (80%) and the United Kingdom (80%) have a clear idea of what they spend on wage costs and HR. "The fact that around one in four companies do not thoroughly check how much they actually spend on personnel costs is a missed opportunity", says Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Officer at SD Worx. "The results in France and Austria are surprising. Monitoring this data could allow policies to be fine-tuned in the best possible way, but also allow embarrassing mistakes or inefficient decisions to be avoided."

Greatest focus on total salary costs

The survey also examined which aspects of HR and personnel costs the companies pay most attention to. The results show that 81% closely monitor their employees' total salary costs, while 79% also look at the total personnel costs. The costs of social consultations (trade unions, etc.) are only closely monitored by 51% of the companies surveyed.

"Accurate monitoring of data such as wage and HR costs is the foundation you need to be able to get the most out of HR analytics", says Cathy Geerts. "This allows companies to gain better insight and to fine-tune their policies if needed, in the interests of both the employees and the employer. Certainly in the current climate, it's essential to be prepared for unexpected changes, such as a sudden decline in customer demand or having to cut costs."

71% monitor staff efficiency

SD Worx also studied the extent to which European companies track the efficiency of their HR department and personnel. 29% said that they had little or no overview of this, while 71% had a good or very good overview. In Ireland (82%) and the United Kingdom (77%) in particular, many companies keep a keen eye on this issue. Three in four companies in the Netherlands (75%) and Germany (73%) also indicated that they keep their finger on the pulse of staff efficiency. Austria, however, saw the highest number of companies with little or no insight into efficiency (41%). One in three companies in France (34%), Switzerland (33%) and Belgium (33%) also seem to have little or no knowledge of staff efficiency.

One in three companies do not survey employee satisfaction

In addition to employee costs and efficiency, two in three European companies monitor the extent to which their employees are satisfied in all areas of their job. Employers in the United Kingdom (71%) and Switzerland (70%) are leading the way in this regard, with France (59%) and Germany (63%) coming in slightly lower. "Many companies are very focused on costs and efficiency, but these two aspects are also inextricably linked to keeping your human capital happy. It's certainly one aspect of the overall business story that shouldn't be overlooked. Companies that do respond with satisfaction and engagement programmes are well advised to measure whether these are a success, something which 42% of companies are not yet doing", concludes Cathy Geerts.

About the survey

In order to gain a better understanding of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on trade and industry in Europe, HR and payroll specialist SD Worx had a survey carried out by market research company Ipsos. The survey asked 1,382 employers in eight countries a series of multiple-choice questions about the effects of the pandemic on their company. The survey was held in the following countries (showing the number of surveyed companies in each): Belgium (140), Germany (201), France (220), Ireland (118), the Netherlands (209), Austria (128), the United Kingdom (233) and Switzerland (133). The survey included both smaller and larger companies across various industries. Based on these numbers, the results are 95% accurate.