2010 Recruiter Compensation Survey Results

How much do recruiters earn?

We received over 200 responses from senior managers of recruiting companies worldwide, including 106 from USA and Canada, 46 from the UK and 34 from Australia and New Zealand.

Location Salary
US/Canada $0.00 (50.3% pay commission only)
United Kingdom 2000 per month (33.3%)
Australia/New Zealand $5000 per month (25.9%)
Participants ranged from Owner/Managers of small firms with only 1-2 employees, to CEOs and Operations Directors of larger firms with over 400 fee earners. A few multinational corporations were represented, but the majority were privately held companies. Here's a brief summary of our findings.

Please note that the salary data presented below is the mode the most common answer not the mean (average). The percentage indicates the proportion of respondents who gave that answer.

The survey results showed dozens of different models for calculating commission. However here is a summary of the most common trends.

Recruiting firms with a commission-only model paid the highest commission, with 30-50% being the norm. Recruiting firms with basic salaries paid significantly less commission at rates of 10-30%. In both cases, the percentage paid was usually linked to performance the higher the billings, the greater the percentage commission earned.

How much do your recruiters earn on average?

Location Mean Mode Range
USA/Canada $93,615 $100,000 $30,000 -$300,000
United Kingdom 46,341 40,000 -45,000 23,000 -80,000
Australia/NZ $92,948 $100,000 $30,000 -$180,000

Typically, the companies that paid a draw in lieu of salary only paid commission after the draw was covered. The firms that paid basic salaries usually had a threshold of 2x to 3.5x salary before commission was paid. A minority of recruitment firms paid basic salary plus commission on everything with no threshold, but this tended to be at a smaller percentage.

The recruiters who earn the most are those in the USA/Canada, where the norm is commission-only with some firms offering a draw instead of a basic salary. It seems that North American recruiters have a different attitude to risk/reward and are willing to sacrifice the comfort-blanket of a basic salary in favour of a bigger income.

By contrast, UK recruiters generally prefer the security of a decent salary to the potential to make a huge income. Antipodean (down-under) recruiters would seem to have the best of both worlds, with good basic salaries and higher overall income than their British counterparts, and average earnings on a par with their American colleagues.

Income Levels Dropped Due to Recession
Its worthy of note that many respondents indicated anecdotally that recruiters average earnings in 2009 were significantly less than they had enjoyed pre-recession. This trend was apparent regardless of geographic location. Lets hope that the Results of next years 2011 survey show an increase in income across the board!

Want to see the full results?
The full Recruiter Compensation Report 2010 is 28 pages and presents the data using tables and pie charts that make it easy to understand. It also contains over 100 sample commission plans including details of salary levels, sales targets, commission structures, thresholds, etc. Plus the combined wisdom and experience of 200 recruiting firm owners and senior managers on the biggest mistakes to avoid when creating compensation plan for your business. The report is only available to members of RecruiterTrainingOnline.com. Not a member yet? No problem! Take a 21-day trial for $1 and download the report immediately:

By Mark Whitby, reprinted with the permission of Mark Whitby
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
For more five star recruiting tips, click here.