The constant and overwhelming barrage of negativity around executive pay is bad for business, bad for any potential economic recovery and bad for the country
Competitive remuneration for success is fundamental to the viability of business in Britain and is a basic feature of capitalism, which, in the absence of any alternative, is pretty key to everyone whether they like it or not. The ability to attract, retain and reward the very best talent globally is absolutely critical to the speed of any recovery. We need to encourage entrepreneurialism and aspiration as that’s the only feasible way to soak up the inevitable job cuts in the public sector. It’s completely wrong that bankers, chief executives and anyone that earns well is seen as a social outcast in our society – if we want to drive the best talent out of the country then we are doing a pretty good job.
Obviously pay has to be linked to success let’s take the example of Stephen Hester, Chief Executive of Royal Bank of Scotland who is caught between a rock and a hard place. The Government’s ‘hands off’ commitment in terms of running the bank has clearly not been honoured. But if Hester doesn’t turn the bank around , he will be vilified as an example of an overpaid banker who can’t do his job – if he does turn it around there is not the slightest chance that he will be paid even remotely in line with his peers for pulling off what will be an amazing achievement.
Our politicians need to realise that belittling the ability of companies to reward their best people will impact heavily on our ability to compete on a global level in business – and let’s face it – that’s pretty much all we have left to ensure our seat at any table discussing global issues. The negative image portrayed by government funded statistical surveys which use lazy maths and half-truths have stoked up a negative fervour that is leading us down an economic cul-de-sac – a route that will eventually end in us being nothing but a small island with a huge debt.
Adrian Kinnersley is Managing Director of Twenty Recruitment, the London and New York based professional recruiter.