Hello bloggers from Seattle, Washington State

 

One of the many learning opportunities from attending conference events comes not only from the formal professional development sessions but also from speaking to fellow HR professionals informally.  In this respect the IPMA-HR conference 2010 has been fascinating.

One of the key questions I’ve asked my fellow American public sector HR professionals concerns the vexed issue of senior pay for public officials. I’ve taken a straw poll of US HR directors (HRD) pay and the general consensus is public sector HRD’s are paid in a range from $100k to about $200k – probably this is not too far away from the range in the UK when converting into pounds. That said, the cost of living in my opinion (and partial experience) is considerably better in the US than in the UK – I think they get much more for their bucks than we do for our equivalent pounds.

I’ve also asked what chief executives’ pay can extend upto in the US public sector and the top of the range seems to be around $350k per annum…a bit more than the highest paid local authority chief executive in the UK – noting the views often expressed about senior pay in the UK (see my recruitment and retention article – page 23 of MJ Magazine, 23 September 2010, Top pay poppycock).

I’ve checked out with my American colleagues what the attitude of the press is like towards senior pay for public servants in the US. It appears this is similar to the UK experience, with the US press giving senior public sector managers a relentless beating about their perceived added value and cost to the tax payer. So, UK public sector colleagues take heart for it seems we are not alone and the press either side of the Atlantic appears to be equally ill-disposed to public servants. Mind you both countries (and no doubt the wider G7 group of developed economies) will be heavily reliant on public sector leaders to help our respective economies out of massive deficit caused by the meltdown and bailing out of the banking industry.

Dean