Big pay rises for personnel directors: Barrie Clement reports from the Institute of Personnel Management's conference in Harrogate

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The Independent Online
COMPANY directors responsible for shedding staff and minimising wage increases received pay rises of nearly double the inflation rate, a study has found.

Boardroom personnel specialists enjoyed a 7.5 per cent increase in the last year, compared with the present inflation rate of 3.6 per cent. The survey by the Reward Group also found that female personnel managers in senior positions received 23 per cent less money than their male colleagues.

Although the gap between men and women had narrowed, the analysis suggested that 'the personnel function needs to put its own house in order prior to exhorting others to do the same'. The study, commissioned by the Institute of Personnel Management, which is holding its annual conference at Harrogate this week, found that the typical personnel director earned nearly pounds 50,000 a year, drove a two-litre Ford Granada (changed every three years) and got free petrol. Most travelled first class on British Rail and Club class by air and received private health insurance.

Within companies, management development experts were the best paid, while those who specialised in health and safety issues came out worst. At senior levels personnel managers in companies employing more than 10,000 people earned 40 per cent more than their counterparts in firms with fewer than 200 employees.

Age was found to have a significant bearing on pay. 'Once past the dreaded 40 mark, average pay levels fall away,' the survey points out. Senior managers aged 36-40 received an average pounds 34,000 in basic salary, while those aged 41-50 got pounds 28,500. Generally, bonus levels were modest compared to sales staff, but could nevertheless add up to 14 per cent on top of basic pay. The average was just over 6 per cent.

An 'astonishingly large' number of the cars travelled very few business miles. On average 47 per cent of respondents to the survey travelled less than 5,000 business miles per year. 'On that basis, the vast majority of these cars are a perk, and only a few are required as a tool of the trade.'

More than a quarter of the respondents said they had been unaffected by the recession. For those who had experienced a downturn in sales, controlling costs and reducing overheads were the most favoured responses, followed by 'increased efficiency and restructuring'.

The reseachers remarked that it was disappointing to see that so many companies were thinking in terms of cuts in preference to the American attitude of selling their way out of the problem.

Redundancies were being considered, or had already been made, by 66 per cent of respondents' companies.