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Time to act on sluggish salaries

Author : Tim Fryer

10 May 2012

It is no surprise to anyone that our annual salary survey showed little to get excited about in 2012, so should we all sit back and wait for the good times to return before expecting a pay increase of any significance?

Well I don’t think so! The survey, conducted for us by our friends at Hays FM, showed that salaries in most regions and at most levels was more or less static. Not surprising given the performance of most businesses of course, but an interesting development was the trend towards other incentives – notably bonuses. But what are bonuses given for?

In an FM sense I don’t have a direct answer to that question. However, that oft bought up statement that ‘buildings’ is the second most significant outlay for most companies, after personnel, can surely work to an FMs advantage. If the costs of running the building were ‘x’ amount last year, then anything less than ‘x’ can make a significant, and measurable, contribution to your company’s overall trading performance.

I am not talking about sharper negotiations on the cleaning contract here either. I am suggesting that this is the time when looking at the efficiency of how the building operates and particularly its energy efficiency are things that should no longer be paid lip service to – they should be acted on. Water management (having just gone from there being none of it to a time when it is everywhere) is a case in point. So is energy efficiency, waste management, lighting and heating control and so on. These are all areas where we can demonstrably save money. Even if the electricity bill goes up because the cost of power has risen, if we know how much energy was used then a like for like comparison can demonstrate how the installation of power saving techniques and low energy equipment has saved a certain amount of money.

Such actions may have direct consequences for the survival of your company in such austere times, or they may, returning to the original point, reflect well on you as individual. If you have saved your company £20,000 on its utility bills but they were unable to offer you a salary increase, it may be worth pointing out that a bonus was in order, particularly if you work in one of those sectors where the bonus culture is prevalent.

The other thing to consider is that everyone is in the same boat. The survey shows this is the second year of static salaries, which means that many people may be approaching the third (or more) anniversary of their last pay increase. Probably one thing it does highlight is that when the top jobs do come up they will go to those with greatest experience and qualifications, so for all that this may be a plateau for many in terms of salary, it is still a good time for taking those steps forward in terms of professional and personal development.

On a completely different note, and if you will excuse the self-indulgence, I have swapped the picture this week for one with me parading the Olympic Torch. I like to suspend my cynicism and believe that this is the one and only and will be the one that is used to light the Olympic flame in London at the end of July. This was taken a few weeks back at lecture about catering at the Olympics (more on this in PFM nearer the time), but is relevant today (10th May 2012) as the torch should be lit in Olympia this morning before making its journey through Greece and over to do its tour of the UK.

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