You Show Me Yours…

Posted: 24 January 2011, in Blog

24 Jan 2011

You show me yours…

Nice little article in the Guardian Social Enterprise Network.

Claudia Cahalane surveyed what social entrepreneurs earn, aspire to earn, pay differentials within social enterprises and what if any “cap” should exist on social entrepreneur salaries.

Lots of little comments from her survey re (invidious?) comparisons with the public and private sectors, bonuses, dividends and pay offs to founder social entrepreneurs if social enterprises are sold etc. Interesting mix of responses from the very poorly paid to those who aspire to above average salaries and all this linked to early start up entrepreneurial experiences (self exploitation basically) and the issue of scale and financial turnover in the sector.

So, should we have a starting position about the rewards of being a social entrepreneur? Some volunteers don’t expect to be paid, whilst employees and senior managers and CEOs might be looking at public (or more unlikely) private sector pay and seeking to be benchmarked against the talent and salaries in the labour market.

Anyway, I chose the word “rewards” on purpose because I think we should be upfront in our recruitment of staff of what the cash and non cash benefits of being a social entrepreneur or an employee of a social enterprise are. Would SSEC like to invite members to draw up a list of what these rewards actually are?

I’d also survey salaries within Charities, Trade Bodies, Associations and Development agencies etc so that transparency and information is not only available but is comparable. I’d also survey and compare the salaries of public sector employees who work with us. I’d expect resistance to this from many folk on the grounds of privacy etc. However, I look at women in the public and private sectors (What did the EOC actually do?) who have been shafted on fair pay grounds for years and I’d suggest that we ought to be setting an example. I also wonder if pay differentials in our businesses discriminate on the grounds of gender?

Is any of this important given that the issue of redundancy looms above so many of us? Well yes frankly. Ethics and good behaviour get tested in bad times more than in times of relative plenty. Maybe we should have a new category for next year’s social enterprise awards: “The Good Practice in Remuneration and Employee Rewards Award”. I wonder how many social enterprises would enter their names for that.

C’mon people, being socially responsible is not just about how the external world views our behaviour and ambitions. It is also about being a good, fair and equitable employer and how we behave internally. We should applaud and award those of us who are setting an example.