Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Crisis hit firms still paying out bonuses

Bonuses were paid to one in four of private sector workers in Northern Ireland last year — despite their companies making a loss, a new survey revealed today.

Deloitte’s ‘Challenging Remuneration Private and Public Sector’ findings also show the median remuneration increase was 12%.

The findings put remuneration packages for Northern Ireland’s fat cats — in both the private and public sector — under the spotlight as the recession deepens.

It said that levels of remuneration had climbed by 8% year on year for directors in Northern Ireland’s top 100 companies — with top fat cats earning £252,000.

The report said that “now potential bonuses have more than doubled”, with a large part of bonus payments having become “all but guaranteed”.

Stuart McKeown, a reward specialist with Deloitte in Belfast, said: “Our conversations with Northern Ireland policy makers and executive and non-executive remuneration committee members remind us that private and public sector remuneration committee members are challenging environments with a tightrope to be walked across conflicting ‘political’, reputational, value and conflict issues/agendas.

“More often that not they are the centre of a web of tension amongst the different stakeholders.”

The report also focuses on pay rates at senior levels in the public sector. It said that a senior civil servant on a band one pay grade had the capacity to earn a maximum of £116,000 per year rising to £205,000 for a band three.

The report said: “As the Northern Ireland public sector faces new challenges in service delivery, stakeholders are facing the same fundamental challenge in senior pay as their private sector counterparts.”

“However, there is increasing pressure, particularly in the current downturn, for these organisations to clearly justify spend versus return in executive remuneration against the cost conscious mandate of the public sector.”

lfergus@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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