Tag Archives: managing pay

Global Salary Grades or Global Salary Structure?

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Recently a reader posed a question to me:

“My company has expanded into ten new countries and I’m trying to establish a global salary structure.  With all the different exchange rates, I’m finding it difficult to come up with one structure that works everywhere.  Can you give me some advice?”

I provided a short answer to the reader, which I will share here, along with some additional information.  First, though, some clarifying definitions, because I believe there is some confusion with terminology (which provided the name of this post).

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What About Inflation?

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

In one of my recent posts, I explained why employers should be careful how they use devaluation as a factor in setting changes to salaries.  One reader sent me a long note describing her dilemma in managing the merit budget approval process for international locations in her company, specifically, how should she take inflation into account?  I realized that my conversation with this reader would probably be of broader interest, so I decided to write this follow-up post.

The fundamental question is:
How should inflation be considered when determining salary increase budgets?

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Impact of Devaluation on Local Pay

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Recently, a client posed the following question to me:

“The Ethiopian Birr has devalued recently and management wants to offer an across-the-board increase to our staff there.  Can you offer any guidance?”

The first thing I asked my client was if she was referring to expats or local staff. She confirmed local staff, not expats.  So, I told her if that’s the case, you might want to reconsider such a step.  Why?

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Africa Compensation Update – 2010

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Back in April of 2009, I published a post entitled “A Glimpse of Pay and Benefits in Africa.”  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to speak at an International Compensation and Benefits meeting in Houston, Texas, hosted by the National Foreign Trade Council, where my topic was also focused on Africa in general, and some information about pay practices there.  I thought it would be nice to share some highlights here.

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The Challenge of International Market Pricing


Chuck Csizmar – CMC Compensation Group

“What is the competitive market price for a particular position?”

It’s a simple question.  If you work in Compensation, this is what you do.  And if you’re in the US, the survey sources you can call upon are numerous and well-stocked with participating companies and benchmark matches – the blessings of a large country.  In fact, it is a common practice to segment the data (report separately) on the basis of industry, revenue size, or geographic region.  In some instances you can further refine your analysis by operating budget, staff size or even years of experience.

For those accustomed to such robust analysis it can be a real wake-up call when asked to conduct a similar analysis for operations in another country.  Suddenly your content-rich environment has disappeared, and in its place you find that the availability of good information can no longer be taken for granted.  Now what do you do?

Your large country database is gone.  Instead, you face a limited selection of survey sources and each offers only a fraction of your normal participant count – a far cry from business as usual.

Such is the key challenge when pricing international jobs – the limited number of companies included in surveys, even by the major vendors.  For example, Mercer Netherlands has 81 participating companies.  So it is not unusual for a market pricing analysis to include only 4 – 5 “matches” – but is that representative of common practice?

If you’re the one on the asking end of the original question, let me share the challenges your analyst is likely to encounter.

Impact of Reduced Participation

  • Limited industry segmentation:  Reported data will likely cover multiple industries, with limited or no segmentation.  If you’re in either a high or low paying industry, surveys will provide inflated or discounted  information.
  • Hard to segment by revenue size:  To the extent that larger companies pay more than smaller you lose that distinction as well.  This can be especially problematic if you’re a small company.
  • Global responsibilities vs. strictly national:  The distinction is often blurred between national, regional and global responsibilities.
  • Combination jobs not well represented:  You will find yourself matching against jobs “close to” your own, just to gain a “feel” for pay levels.  If your job content varies from benchmark descriptions, reported data might not capture such idiosyncrasies.
  • Poor matches and / or no data when less than 5 respondents:  Surveys tend to provide an “n/a” when they do not have enough participants.  When you start with limited companies it’s not unusual to find unreported jobs.
  • Forget Regional variations:  While it is often the case that certain geographic regions have higher pay levels, the reported data is usually national.  You may assume that participants are in the higher paid region, at your risk.

What to do?

Frustrating, isn’t it?  You can’t very well throw your hands into the air, complain about poor survey quality and move on to something else.  The limitations are there and you have to play with the cards you’ve been dealt. Management is waiting, wondering what is taking you so long.

Working with limited resources is a test.  Your challenge is to balance an understanding of the subject position, the industry and the vagaries of limited data points in order to determine which figure best represents your position’s competitive value.

To succeed you must utilize subjectivity and your professional judgment to consider the available data and gauge which figures best reflect the job under review.  The correct answer will no longer jump off the page at you.  Compensation has become an art, not a science.

  • To improve your matching, consider either the 25th or the 75th percentiles instead of the median or 50th percentile to reflect your position: this can be effective with poor matches, or concerns that the reported job is either larger or smaller than your own.
  • You may have to add or subtract from a benchmark job to gain a more appropriate figure for your position.  For example, if your job is a VP but the survey matches stop at the Director level (or converse), you may have to adjust up or down to create a better “guesstimate.”  Note: in such a case don’t forget that the incentive percentages will likely differ as well.
  • There is no formula in making adjustments, but changes in organizational level are usually around 15% – 20%.  Within-level description changes are usually around 5% – 15%.
  • If dealing with only a few positions you might have greater success by individually pricing jobs through a vendor’s database of multiple surveys, government sources and local surveys.  Vendors like ORC, Birches Group and a few others offer this select service.
  • Be careful of the arithmetic exercise (averaging averages, inappropriate matches, assuming numbers, etc.) that delivers a figure you cannot validate later.  Caution: a number is remembered, while often the qualifiers that follow are forgotten.  Make sure that you document such concerns before providing specific data.

All this subjectivity means that your judgment might suffer from more skepticism, even criticism, as you cannot simply point to a survey page and say, “there it is.”

Does all this subjectivity ruin the value of your analysis?  Not at all, as long as you inform management about how limited survey resources have impacted your analysis.  They expect an answer to their question (market value?) and you need do the best that you can with the resources you have available.

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Everybody Hates Performance Appraisals – What to Do?

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

I read an article today from the Wall Street Journal by Dr. Samuel Culbert of the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.  In the article, the author states:

“This corporate sham [performance appraisal] is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who’s evaluated hates it.  It’s a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus.”

I recommend you read the rest of the article.  You also might want to refer to this video interview with the author from 2008 – you can find it here.

It is true that most folks dislike the performance management rituals that exist in their organizations.  For the most part, few managers are very good at providing meaningful feedback, and there is a “check the box” attitude from managers and staff alike.  And the problem is with the whole concept — it’s not just a question of making a better form, or applying the latest Web 2.0 technology to automate a bad process.  That just results in a very efficient, but no more effective, bad process.

I will leave it to Dr. Culbert to describe what else is wrong with performance appraisals.  Instead, I would like to challenge you to think about a couple of concepts which could actually improve performance management for everyone.

At Birches Group, we did some research a few years ago for a client, which involved interviewing staff in every corner of the world about their  company’s performance management system.  We asked employees if they liked performance appraisals as they were conducted in the organization; they did not.  Then we asked if they could identify the “good” and “bad” performers; without exception, they could.  So we started investigating how it was possible they could figure out who was a strong performer and who was not, despite the formal performance management system they disliked so much.

The answer was incredibly simple.  For the “good” performers, the answers to these questions were YES:

  1. Do you have good ideas?
  2. Do you listen and adapt your ideas to client/customer needs?
  3. Can I count on you to deliver?
  4. Are you an effective team player?

That’s it.  Our research indicated that if we could answer these four questions we would have enough information to evaluate the performance of an individual in any organization.

Think about it.  Apply it to your company.  Does it work?  Can you think of anyone in your company that can answer yes to all of these questions?  Are they a good performer?  Imagine the implications of such a simple approach.

We built a system, called Community™, which is based on this simple model. With just four questions to evaluate performance, we gather feedback from employee, manager and peers (inside or outside the company).  The system is straightforward and requires no training (it has to be, since non-employee peers are invited to participate in the process, and there is no way they could be trained).  And, surprise, it actually works!

Another key issue with performance management is how it is used in tandem with rewards – usually merit pay and short-term incentives.  “Pay for Performance” is the rule now in most organizations, but stop and think about how performance really influences pay.

In most companies, salary ranges or bands are defined using a combination of external market data and internal equity issues.  Once these bands are defined, the range of base salary is locked in. Performance management is then used to help determine the following:

  • An annual “merit” increase – this is an annual increment based on an employee’s performance.  In many developed countries, merit budgets have been hovering around 3% or less for many years.  So, companies are expending tremendous resources to determine if an employee should be eligible for 2.5% to 5.0% (approximately) based on their performance rating.  Is it worth it?
  • Annual short-term incentives – these bonus payments are likely based primarily on company financial results.  There is usually an individual component too, but often it’s very small.  Again, is it meaningful?

Should all staff be treated equally when it comes to performance management? Certainly all employees should receive feedback on their performance from their supervisor.  But should performance ratings be used for “pay for performance” across the board?

We sometimes think about this as a wedding cake.  As you know, the base of a wedding cake is tall and wide.  Additional tiers of the cake are shorter and narrower, and as you go higher and higher up the cake the tiers get even smaller.  We can draw an analogy between a wedding cake and broad organizational categories.

For example,  the lowest tier might correspond to support staff, for whom rewards could easily be designed based primarily on basic metrics such as attendance, coupled with tenure-driven increases.  Yes, a lot like civil service, but perhaps more appropriate for these positions.

The next level of the cake covers core professionals.  For this group, the primary reward mechanism could be related not to attendance or tenure, but the demonstration of new competencies related to their job requirements.  This group would benefit from clearly defined competency milestones and peer feedback, for example.

The next level (or two) would be reserved for managers and executives – the folks who are managing the business operationally and strategically.  For this group of staff, some pay should be at risk, and rewards should be based on how well the company does in meeting it’s overall performance objectives.  Primarily financial objectives, but also consideration of leadership strengths and other key decisions made by the management team need to be considered.  Clearly, though, it is these groups that have the most direct influence over company results.  In other words, perhaps when it comes to pay for performance, one size does not fit all.

All employees deserve regular, constructive feedback about their performance.  This is not a function of the system you use or the form design; rather, it needs to be embedded into the culture of your organization, to encourage frank conversation, open and honest exchanges between managers and staff, with the aim to celebrate the good (as opposed to focusing exclusively on the best).  Rethinking how performance ratings are used to administer pay and rewards is long overdue in most organizations.

What do you think?  Please share your comments and thoughts!

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Warren Heaps

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Sometimes You Have to Spend

Chuck Csizmar – CMC Compensation Group

Many companies with international operations are reluctant to purchase compensation surveys covering their multiple countries, on account of the cost.  To them it’s like having to survey multiple USAs, no matter the headcount involved.  As discussed in an earlier post, Shock and Awe, the cost of these international surveys can be prohibitive.

For example, if the US-based Acme Manufacturing Company has operations in Germany, India and Argentina, survey costs for these three countries would be 2-3 times the cost of comparable US surveys.  As most compensation experts recommend using multiple sources to better gauge market trends, the cost factor very quickly becomes an eye opener.  The more countries you operate in – well, you get the point.

Hence the hesitation.

However, is putting off a competitive pay analysis a good business decision?   What is gained by keeping ignorant of whether your compensation packages are competitive or not?  Of course, by happenstance you may be lucky and are already providing compliant and competitive rewards.  More likely though, the odds favor that you’re either overpaying or underpaying your employees.

Long term Impact of the Status Quo

Let’s look at the scenarios that can be playing out while you remain unaware.

Over Payments:

  • Where local compensation costs are higher than the competitive market, without a corresponding ROI in productivity or performance (more pay is not a 1:1 correlation).  You are wasting money.
  • Most employees will not recognize that they’re being paid above average, so any presumed positive perception is only an illusion.

If you’re overpaying, but don’t realize it because you haven’t obtained credible survey data, you will likely presume that everything is okay.  In other words, you’ll think that your pay is on par with the market, when in fact you are paying at above market rates.  How much money (the differential) will you be needlessly paying out on account of this presumption?  Chances are, the cost of finding out – of potentially identifying a key problem – would be a small fraction of the money being misspent.  Is this an efficient use of your reward dollars?  I don’t think so.


  • Employees feel that they are not being compensated fairly
  • Your ability to attract the right caliber of employee for your operations will be weakened by low compensation rates
  • Employee engagement, productivity, morale, attendance etc. will be less than what they should be, feeding off negative employee perceptions

If you’re underpaying, but don’t realize it because you failed to obtain credible survey data, you may also blindly consider that everything is okay.  After all, anyone who leaves does so for more money, right?  But doesn’t everyone?  So you may not learn much through staff defections.  Have you considered the annualized cost of losing just one experienced staff member?  And should you lose more?

Choosing instead a course of hesitation and delay will not rectify any festering issues; they don’t go away or fix themselves.  Instead, your inaction will worsen the situation and make eventual corrections more painful.

Cost of doing business

Do you remember that ad line, “you can pay me now, or pay me a lot more later”?

While squirming to avoid costs the company might try to obtain free data off the internet.  Good luck there.  Pundits will tell you that the value of free data, even if available is usually less than what you paid for it.

Instead, ask yourself if you would spend a dollar today to save three tomorrow?  That’s the question you must answer, to gauge the economic value of knowing the competitive position of your international employees.

Your financial folks might see it another way.  They might see only a finite dollar amount being spent, against a “maybe” savings estimate.  They will ask you for guarantees you cannot give.  It’s not like buying a machine that will increase productivity, lower production costs, raise profit margins and lower the cost of sales – all measurable.

Would you pay to learn how competitive are your services and product lines?

To make informed and effective business decisions, management requires knowledge of present circumstances, the challenges being faced, the import of the status quo and the implications of change.   When dealing with the single greatest cost to your organization, employee pay, it would be well worth your effort to spend what is necessary to give senior management the proper ammunition for decisions that could drive the business forward.

Yes, it would be well worth the cost.

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The Easy Road to Global Compensation Success?


Chuck Csizmar
– CMC Compensation Group

How many success stories start with the phrase, “I took the easy road”?

Most companies (@85%) with global operations tend to pay their internationally-based top level executives in accordance with some form of global compensation structure – in order to level the playing field for those with multiple country responsibilities.

However, for the rest of their international population it’s not as straightforward.

The Challenge

Companies with local national employees (hourly, professional, management) face a challenge and a risk when it comes to deciding how to reward (pay) in each of their operating countries.    Do they “do as the Romans do” and follow local practice, or do they seek to create a standardized global framework in an effort to equalize pay practices?

For those developing strategies to effectively pay employees across the globe, the headache is in dealing with a diverse collection of economies, cultures and competitive pressures – some of which may be moving in different directions.  However, the strategy of recognizing country-specific differences in pay methodology often comes up hard against the interests of corporate staff administrators, who traditionally look for the easy way, the simple way, the one-size-fits all way of dealing with far-flung employee groups.  For many companies and international compensation practitioners, it is actually the administrators whom you have to overcome.

The headquarters staff will ask, “What difference does it make?  Unless otherwise required by legislative action or representation, why can’t we be fair to all our employees in the same way?”  Here are a few metrics to illustrate what they wish to standardize:

  • Value (price) jobs irrespective of locale
  • The pay mix of base salary and incentives
  • Universal date for pay increases
  • Average pay increase percentages
  • Pay-for-performance vs. general adjustment increases

Why Not?

Why doesn’t one size fit all?  Why can’t you treat all employees in the same fashion – because they all belong to the same “XYZ Corporation”, right?  You should consider the following before taking out that cookie cutter.

  • Economy:  When you’re dealing with country-specific inflation rates that range from flat to 20%+, do you really want to offer the same percentage salary increases?  What if one country is in the grip of recession (US), while another remains relatively unscathed (Australia)?
  • Culture:  In some areas of the world, job and income security needs command paramount interest over pay-at-risk, so in the pay mix the base salary dominates the variable portion.  For example, while China has a very aggressive sales compensation environment, in India there is more interest in base salary and their CTC (cost-to-company) package than variable pay-at-risk compensation.
  • Competition:  Companies react to the cost of labor vs. the cost of living.  If the market they are in rewards in a certain fashion (pay mix, commission vs. bonus, quarterly vs. annual rewards, etc.), companies who provide a different approach risk lower employee engagement as well as a talent drain.
  • Representation:  National unions often dictate pay actions that could reverberate up the hierarchy as companies strive to maintain equitable treatment with their other employees.  Works Councils will have their impact as well.

On the other hand, varying your practices according to country-specific conditions could cause a degree of consternation with the back office staff and their computerized systems.  These are folks who like things neat and pretty.  In their defense though, senior management often asks for standardized metrics that may be difficult develop and compare:

  • Tabulating global statistics when definitions or methods vary
  • Identifying global trends based on diverse conditions
  • Balancing the impact of cross border movement

If you force international operating units to convert their practices to an uncommon format and methodology, the result could be more than just confusion and local administrative difficulties.  It could also mean the greater likelihood of overpayments in some quarters while paying less in others – all for the sake of sameness and common report generation. This would result in a combination of hurting employees while also hurting the business.

Remember that ease of administration is rarely an effective rationale for making good business decisions.

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Three Rules for Compensation Surveys in Smaller Developing Markets

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Almost every day, I hear from a client or prospect looking for reliable market data in some small developing market, usually located in a part of the world that the big consultants have not yet discovered.  After all, our company focuses on those places!

One of the most common discussion points is about the difficulty the client is having in finding a survey which meets their needs in these markets.  You see, most clients have a very “developed world” view of what makes a good survey. But in smaller markets, you need to look at surveys through a different lens.

What Makes A Good Survey?
The exchange is typically something like this:

Client asks, “Do you have a survey for Gabon, in West Africa?”

I say, “Yes, we have a survey there, and for all of the countries in Africa.”

“Wow,” says the client, “that’s impressive.   How many bio-tech companies are in your survey?”

“Bio-tech?  None, I’m afraid.  We have a pharma company, but their office is very small.  Are there even any bio-techs in Gabon?”

“Well we are looking to open an office there, so we need to be competitive in our sector.  Do you know any other surveys I could look at?”

And so it goes.  This client, like many others, is looking for a survey in Gabon, a relatively small market, with the same parameters as they would apply in Germany.  Sector based surveys are very popular in developed countries, but in many small, developing markets, sector surveys just don’t work.

Rule #1 – Think Outside Your Sector

Why?  Simple.  The sector just isn’t big enough.  There might only be two or three similar companies, or like in our Gabon example, none at all.  To get a good sector survey together you would need at least eight to ten companies with a workforce of at least 20 to 25 staff.  But sometimes that’s not even enough.

I remember reviewing a survey once in a Central American country when I was a corporate compensation executive.  I was excited that the survey included 12 consumer goods companies (including my former employer).  We thought that with 12 companies, there would be enough data for some robust statistics.  It turns out there wasn’t.   Only 4 of the employers in the survey had a large presence in the country; the rest had small sales offices, and some had less than 10 staff in total.  Our company had staff over 150, including a regional headquarters and a factory.

So you see, a sector-based survey with 12 employers yielded good data for only a handful of positions.  My company, along with the others that had larger operations, were unable to use most of the sector data due to lack of matches.

Okay, so now you’re just looking for a survey – any survey.  Which employers make the most sense in order to get the market intelligence you need to make the right pay decisions?

Rule #2 – Look at the Leaders

Leading employers in all sectors usually have a full range of positions, from support to professional to executive.  These employers also have a strong employer brand, making them the preferred employers in the market.  The best talent naturally gravitate to these companies, as they are the ones reputed to be the best places to work.  More often than not, the leaders are multi-national companies or international organizations.

The multi-nationals are known to have disciplined approaches to reward, governed by global principles set down from headquarters.  They view compensation and benefits in a strategic way, and know the importance of using market data to determine rates of pay and benefits.

International organizations include employers such as the World Bank, various Embassies, the United Nations, the European Union, and so on.  These organizations are usually well-established in smaller developing markets, and attract the top echelon of the workforce.  Surprised?  One of the reasons is that many international organizations have very competitive pay programs which are benchmarked not only against each other, but with the private sector as well.

Together, a combination of leading private sector employers and leading international organizations captures the top of the market in many small countries.  So it’s a good place to start.

But wait a second.  You’re thinking “How will I compare my mobile telecom company to the World Bank?  They are not comparable to my company!”

Rule #3 – Use Cross-Occupational Job Matching

First of all, there are common occupations in all employers that are easily comparable.  For example, positions from accounting, finance, human resources, procurement and IT; plus secretaries, administrative assistants and less skilled support roles common in developing countries, such as drivers, security guards and messengers.

For professional and managerial positions, the real challenge is finding enough matches for a particular occupation to be able to report the data separately.  In order to ensure that there is data available for each professional level in our surveys, we often double-match positions to both a specific occupational benchmark (e.g., Brand Manager) as well as a generic professional position (e.g., Working Level Professional).  In case there are insufficient matches for Brand Manager, we can still report the aggregated data for all positions matched to Working Level Professional.  In this way, clients are assured to get a comprehensive picture of the market, even if the specific occupational matches fall short in the survey.

Is this good enough?  How many organizations use a different salary structure for each occupational group?  There are some, but not too many.   Using cross-occupational data is not really such a stretch, is it?

In Summary
There are other factors to consider when evaluating a compensation survey in small developing countries, but these three rules will help get you started.
I will write another post in the future discussing some of the other challenges. In the meantime, please share your experiences working with surveys in these countries.

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Warren Heaps

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Developing Markets Compensation and Benefits Group on LinkedIn

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Shock and Awe

Chuck Csizmar – CMC Compensation Group

When you first look to purchase compensation surveys for your international population, it’s going to be a real wake-up call.  For those accustomed to only US surveys you will find that the available data in many countries is more limited than what you’re accustomed to seeing, as are the number of companies involved.  What won’t be reduced though is the expense.  Quite the opposite.  If you have multiple countries to deal with, your budget for credible compensation data will likely become a multiple of your US experience.

When I worked overseas my budget for compensation surveys was 3-4 times my previous US budget – and I only had to worry about Europe.  What a shock that was – spending much more and arguably receiving less.

Think on it, though: each country is a separate USA, a unique national entity having country-specific labor laws, employment regulations, tax structure, competitiveness challenges and variations of economic strength.  For each you will need a country-specific survey to assess the local competitiveness of your employees.

International HR practitioners will need to adjust their thinking to react effectively in smaller countries, where the working population is limited and so is the number of survey participants.  It will be difficult to slice surveys by geography, industry or employee segment, as the data points grow smaller and smaller with each criteria.  For example, a well-regarded Mercer survey for Sweden showed 202 participating companies, while the Netherlands counted 81.  Meanwhile the US survey totaled 500 companies.

To compound this dilemma of accessing credible data you will typically be required to pay “list” costs for each survey, as compared to the US where I was able to gain lower 2nd copy costs and often times managed to wheedle discounts or “anticipated” participation rates.  Such tactics are not as readily available overseas.

Availability of locally-grown survey data is another challenge.  I have tried to locate such sources, even those provided in the local language, in order to create a greater “buy-in” sense from management, but with very limited success.   Even global companies with non-US headquarters tend to use the multi-national consulting firms.

Accessing International Resources

Should you require information for international compensation practices, below are a number of useful sources, each of which can be tapped via a Google search.  Note: many of the non-US sources focus on limited employee segments or functional areas, which may limit their usefulness during a general search.

Towers Perrin Mercer Culpepper
Hewitt Associates PwC CSi Remuneration
AON Hay Group VenCon Int’l
Reseach (GER)
Radford McLagen Economic Research
IPAS TymWork (SWE) Western Management
Taylor Root (UK) CFA Institute EuroComp
(Western Mgmt)
Federation of
European Employers
Executive Resources
Watson Wyatt
Birches Group LLC Euro Remuneration
Network (GER)
Organization Resources
Counselors (ORC)
Ernst & Young Croner Reward (UK) Robert Walters (UK)
Baumgartner & Partner
Interconsult Ltd
Australian Institute of

Should you only have a few positions (2-3) in a given country you can reduce costs through individual job pricing, vs. the purchase of an entire survey.  More than a few positions though, would render this tactic economically unfeasible.  A few notable sources (though others from the above list may also be able to help):

  • ER Limited
  • ORC
  • Birches Group

Note that I have not included sources from the current vogue of online surveys, like PayScale and Salary.com.  To my mind these sources still have credibility problems to overcome before they would be accepted by senior management as a viable resource.

Another effective strategy for reducing costs is to age current data forward, coupled with the use of biennial purchasing.  However, if utilizing this strategy have a care to limit its use to countries with stable economies.  Using such standard growth figures would miss the mark in countries showing greater volatility.

The Cost of International Operations

Too many HR practitioners and their Managers fail to take into account the expenses involved in keeping their international compensation programs competitive, especially where the organization has a small footprint in a given country.  For companies new to the international scene, and for those with small populations in several countries, the shock of survey costs could be daunting.  Many times the result is a reluctance to purchase the data, in some cases letting matters on the ground continue to fester – potentially overspending and / or creating debilitating equity problems for themselves.

Call it the cost of doing business, but if you’re going to maintain effective operations overseas, and you want to provide a competitive reward package (of course you do!), it would be unwise to shortchange the process by guesstimating or otherwise trying to make-do without credible information.

The cost of surveys is a fraction of the possible financial impact that could result from retaining non-competitive reward programs.

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