NHS HR chief pay hike defies logic and abuses public purse

It is encouraging to read that the public sector is willing to recruit senior HR people from the private sector, and long may this trend continue (‘Clare Chapman lands top HR job at the DoH’, Personnel Today,5 September).

However, I have three main concerns about how this particular recruitment exercise seems to have been handled.

First, how can a published salary be set at £130,000 one minute, and then all of a sudden rise to £220,000 the next – an increase of 69%? It is grossly misleading to potential candidates to publish the ‘wrong’ salary level.

Second, all organisations would normally set a budget for recruitment, with some flexibility on salary level by up to an additional, say, 20%, should an exceptional candidate come along. There are not many of us who could claim to have negotiated an additional 69% on the published salary. Organisations just don’t do that sort of thing because they can’t afford to.

Third, how many talented applicants who were already earning £130,000 or more did not apply because the salary was not attractive enough?

It is difficult not to be cynical and take the view that the huge hike in salary can only be afforded because it is public money. If it was your own business, it is doubtful if you could, or would, want to find an extra £90,000 for your new recruit, as it may bankrupt you.

Paul Robertson-Marriott
HR director,
Quebecor World

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