November 04, 2016 — It's a good time to be a human resources executive in the healthcare field. Pay for healthcare HR executives at S&P 500 companies rose by roughly 50 percent between 2014 and 2015, even as overall HR executive pay declined slightly during the period.
Overall median total direct compensation for HR executives employed by S&P 500 companies dropped from $1.7 million in 2014 to $1.6 million in 2015, according to a new report from Equilar, a business intelligence company, and Allegis Partners, a global executive search firm. Compensation in the healthcare sector showed a very different trend, however, with a rise in the median from $1.5 million in 2014 to $2.3 million in 2015.
Allegis Partners attributes the shift to the rate of “disruptive change” in the industry driven by a diverse set of factors, including regulatory shifts driven by the industry’s move to value-based care, such as MACRA and the Affordable Care Act. The speed and breadth of technological advances, from increased opportunities to collect and report patient data to telehealth and the evolution of electronic record systems, have also changed the playing field, according to the report.
“The most enlightened CEOs understand that they now must lead their organizations into new and uncharted territory, and they are cultivating leadership teams with exceptional talent from far outside their traditional industries,” according to commentary included in the report.
The imbalance between the number of HR executives capable of this type of leadership and the number of slots available reportedly drove the compensation increase in the sector, which grew more than any other industry segment identified in the report.
A lot of that compensation is tied up in compensation other than salaries and bonuses, however. The healthcare sector delivered a higher proportion of total compensation via options than any other sector, at 23 percent. It also ranked among the highest sectors for its overall mix of combined equity and long-term performance incentives, which came in at 62.8 percent of average total compensation.