(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)
By Dominic Elliott
LONDON, June 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Three quarters of
UK finance workers reckon some of their ilk are overpaid, a
survey says. That may sound like self-flagellation, but the
YouGov pollsters didn’t ask the relevant question for that:
whether the respondents considered their own rewards excessive,
relative to their peers or to workers in other industries.
Really, it’s the one quarter who did not see a problem with pay
that should make headlines. Do they think everything is OK, or
are they lacking in the sector's famed competitiveness?
The minority is also more interesting in another survey
result. One third of people who did not agree the industry’s pay
arrangements encourage inappropriate behaviour. What were they
thinking? Did they disagree with all the reports on perverse
incentives? Do they not think there is anything really bad about
the way financial institutions have been run?
The most depressing, but perhaps not the most surprising,
result of the survey - conducted on behalf of the Chartered
Institute of Personnel and Development, a UK association for
human resources professionals - was the stasis. Fewer than four
in 10 respondents say there has been any initiative led by
senior executives to change the culture of their firm over the
last 12 months - and one in six workers has been bullied or
pressed to behave in unethical ways.
In theory, the UK has been working hard to tackle finance's
rotten culture. Indeed, Andrew Tyrie's Parliamentary Commission
on Banking Standards will publish its report in the next
fortnight. In April, veteran lawyer and banker Anthony Salz
published an independent review of Barclays' (BARC.L) recent
failings which said that bankers were too motivated by pay.
If the YouGov survey is anything to go by, the industry’s
workers at least recognise the cultural challenge. That is
positive, though action would be much more positive. But what
the survey says about the recognition of excessive pay deserves
a dose of salt.
SIGN UP FOR BREAKINGVIEWS EMAIL ALERTS:
- Three quarters of financial services employees, and two
thirds of senior managers, said some people in their
organisations were still paid excessively, according to a survey
published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD) on June 6. Almost two thirds of the 1,000
workers polled also said some of their colleagues were rewarded
in a way that encouraged inappropriate behaviour, for example
withholding information from co-workers, excessive and
unauthorised risk-taking and even lying to customers. Fewer than
one in three said they were proud to work in the financial
- YouGov conducted the online survey for the CIPD of 1,026
UK employees working in banking, brokerage and investment and
insurance over four days in April. The responses chosen were
selected at random from a panel of more than 400,000 individuals
who have agreed to take part in YouGov surveys.
- CIPD survey: link.reuters.com/tyx68t
- Reuters: Pay still excessive in Britain's financial
services, say workers [ID:nL5N0EH3CX]
- For previous columns by the author, Reuters customers can
click on [ELLIOTT/]
(Editing by Edward Hadas and Sarah Bailey)
Keywords: BREAKINGVIEWS FINANCE/PAY/
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