The issue of large salaries paid to CEOs within the charity and voluntary sector has always been subject to criticism within the media and public generally and the recent revelation that Praxis CEO Nevin Ringland is earning £142,000 a year has sparked a backlash and new demands to curb the salaries of charity bosses.
But should this be the case and how much is too much when it comes to pay packets?
Modern charities are large, complex organisations with multiple stakeholders, several income streams, high numbers of staff and volunteers and more than one simple bottom line to consider. More often than not charities take responsibility for investing in human capital where the commercial and public sectors fail and leave people behind.
Where would we be today on issues such as gender equality and diversity, environment, health, cancer research and education if it wasn't for charities campaigning and investing?
Senior executives are not only required to be technically good at their job, they are also expected to have a range of abilities to engage and communicate with an audience who can be just as demanding as shareholders and paying customers. Fortunately, funders, philanthropists, commissioners and beneficiaries generally understand and support this by paying leaders for performance.
If the organisation has an effective board with robust governance procedures and more people benefit from the activities of a charity because it has an excellent chief executive who inspires staff, volunteers and donors, and achieves the organisation's vital yet challenging objectives, why should that not be reflected in that individual's remuneration?
The truth is, the reason the 'taboo' around the high salaries in the third sector continues to cause backlash is down to the sector's failure to educate the public and key stakeholders about how charitable organisations work; the complexity of their operations and their impact on society. In order to have a well-run, effective organisation, it's essential that the very best people with the skillset and mindset are hired to do the job.
These people need to be considered not only as a cost but an investment.
Neal Lucas is MD of Neal Lucas Recruitment