Using universalistic and contingency perspectives, this study investigates the relationships between pay practices, organisational contingencies (business strategy, workforce employment groups, industry sector and organisation size) and human resource (HR) performance outcomes in the United Kingdom (UK) private sector. It tests the propositions of the strategic pay literature that a) selection of pay practices will have an effect on HR outcomes; b) internal and external organisational contingencies will have an effect on pay practice selection; and c) selection of pay practices aligned to organisational contingencies will have a positive effect on HR outcomes. Data were collected via the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Reward Management Survey in 2012. Results support hypothesised associations between a) pay selection and both business strategy and workforce employment groups; and b)specific pay practice approaches and HR outcomes. There is limited support however for the hypothesised effect of strategically aligned pay on HR outcomes although there are suggestions that certain configurations of pay practices and organisational contingencies have the potential for such an effect. These findings have practical implications for reward and HR professionals in designing and implementing pay systems. The study directly contributes to the theoretical development of strategic pay to better understand the complex and context-laden practice of strategic pay and its consequences.