Three quarters of Treasury staff unsatisfied with pay, survey reveals

6 Dec 16

Three quarters of Treasury staff say they are not satisfied with their pay and benefits package and have raised concerns that the department may not be doing enough to hold on to talented employees, the latest staff survey has revealed.

According to the 2016 survey of more than 1,100 Treasury staffers, published today, a quarter of employers (25%) said they strongly disagreed that their pay adequately reflects their performance. A further 30% said they disagreed with the statement, while 18% said they neither agreed nor disagreed.

In the area of benefits, almost half of staff said they disagreed (26%) or strongly disagreed (22%) that they were satisfied with their package.

Staff resentment about pay appeared higher when they were asked to compare their pay to people working in other organisations.

Here, a total of 71% of staff surveyed said they strongly disagreed or disagreed that “compared to people doing a similar job in other organisations I feel my pay is reasonable”. Of this group, 39% said they strongly disagreed.

Overall, staff satisfaction with pay and benefits was given a positive score of 24%. This was in marked contrast with other areas of work measured by the survey, which all drew satisfaction scores upwards of 60%, with some reaching in excess of 80%.

However, it was an improvement of 2 percentage points on the pay and benefits satisfaction score recorded in the 2015 staff survey.

Elsewhere, the survey reflected more positive messages. Almost all staff (89%) agreed they had a clear understanding of the Treasury’s objectives and purpose, 83% agreed that they were interested and challenged by their work, and 81% said they were treated fairly, inclusively and with respect.

When asked if the Treasury was doing a good job to retain its most talented people, almost half said they disagreed (35%) or strongly disagreed (15%) with the statement. However, 30% declared they were neutral on the question.

Along with the wider public sector, civil service pay has been under considerable restraint over the past few years with annual increases capped at 1%, a situation set to endure to 2019-20.

Commenting on the survey findings, a spokesman for the PCS trade union said: “Year after year the survey shows huge dissatisfaction over pay, as the cap on wage rises continues and living standards fall, and year after year this is ignored.

“The chancellor missed an ideal opportunity in the Autumn Statement to improve conditions for his staff and ensure a more secure future for his department and the civil service.”

Helen Kenny, the FDA’s national officer representing members in the Treasury, said: “It’s pleasing to see how well senior civil service management staff are regarded and generally, results are good.

“However, the Treasury remains amongst the departments with the lowest scores in pay and benefits and has been in this position for almost a decade. While the department may not suffer from recruitment difficulties, it urgently needs to consider whether ongoing pay restraint is a sensible way to retain its brightest and best.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and

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