Sunday, 6 June 2010

Public Sector CIO Pay: Are we comparing like with like...?

There has been something of a moral panic regarding the pay of some senior civil servants, including some government CIOs getting paid more than the Prime Minister (who appears to have been given a pay cut). I'm not about to make moral or value judgements - this is not the place.

The real issue for me is whether we are comparing like for like. In executive recruitment, you need to consider the whole reward package: pay, perks, use of hotels/residences, memberships, pensions... For example, the PM gets the free use of two 'grace and favour' residences (No. 10 and Chequers) plus associated maintainence, cleaners, servants. I somehow doubt this is matched by the civil service CIOs.

The above applies to making comparisons with private sector peer CIOs too. We also then need to consider the benefits side, i.e. what they deliver. At that point we can start to look at costs and benefits somewhat more objectively, before discussing the value judgements.

All this reminds me of comparisons made routinely in the press about goods being cheaper in the US than in the UK (currently fluctuations aside). These claims don't always stand up to scruitiny as they invariably quote US prices excluding sales tax but UK prices including VAT and/or compare US out of town prices with central London prices. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!..:-)

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