Report shows only a third of staff think pay in their organisation is fair

According to the 2019 Reward Management report by CIPD, the majority of workers in the UK do not think their organisation pays staff fairly and a lack of communication could be at fault.

Pay Levels Fairness UK

Are employees paid fairly in the UK?

Commissioned by the CIPD and carried out by YouGov, the 2019 Reward Management report surveyed 2,031 employees and 465 people professionals to find out workplace attitudes to pay levels and pay fairness. Key findings include:

  • 33% of workers think that all staff in their organisation are paid fairly, relative to their experience and achievements
  • 75% of HR professionals think the same
  • 51% of permanent employees believe they are paid fairly

According to the research, the higher a person’s salary, the more likely they are to consider their pay fair. Only 38 per cent of employees who earn less than £20,000 think their pay is a fair reflection of their experience and responsibilities. However, 50 per cent of people who earn between £20,000 and £39,999 think the same.

To improve these figures, the report suggests that: “people professionals should help their employers to explore whether they are paying their staff enough, and as a minimum a liveable wage. Paying a wage that their people can live on can actually help organisations, as money worries are a key driver of employee stress, which in turn impinges on productivity and organisational performance.”

How are pay levels communicated in the workplace?

The report also investigated how the perception of pay fairness is affected by communication about how pay is set. According to CIPD:

  • 60% of HR professionals talk about the fairness of their pay processes and outcomes
  • 25% survey their employees on what they think about the fairness of those processes
  • 23% do the same regarding pay outcomes

Of those surveyed, 56 per cent of HR teams inform staff about the factors they consider when deciding to increase an employee’s pay. Not only that, just 50 per cent of HR teams explain how their grade structures work, while 45 per cent tell employees what they need to do to increase their pay.

The report also suggests that line managers should be more supported to make the pay and bonus decisions the organisation expects them to make. Currently only 22 per cent of organisations give their line managers full support by offering training, toolkits, coaching and briefings, while 20 per cent do not give line managers any support at all.

The report suggests that: “By investing in the people skills of their existing and potential line managers, they should be in a better position to make fair pay decisions and communicate the rationale behind these. In turn, this should build employee trust in the system and their commitment to the organisation.”

See also

Online activism in the workplace: how should employers respond?

What are the benefits of an employee assistance programme (EAP)?

Find out more

2019 Reward Management report (CIPD)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 5 December 2019