How we pay our staff

As an organisation with important responsibilities towards our beneficiaries, donors, supporters, staff and the public, we recognise the importance of raising accountability and transparency in all aspects of our work.

That's why, in line with recommendations from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations' 2014 inquiry into executive pay, we are once again detailing our approach to pay; we are explaining how our pay levels are defined, publishing the ratio of pay dispersion or spread across the organisation; and listing the roles and salaries of our executive team.

At Save the Children, each of us is driven by our mission to build a world where all children can survive, learn and be protected. This means that we are committed to maximising our impact across all elements of our life-saving work.

To do this successfully means balancing two different needs: the need to ensure value for money in everything we do, including how we pay our staff; and the need to attract and retain people with the leadership, experience, knowledge and skills required to lead the transformation we are undergoing and oversee the complex, high-risk work being done in some of the world’s toughest places.

Having a competitive reward offering is one of the many ways in which we secure the very best people to deliver unprecedented levels of meaningful change to the lives of children around the world. Aiming to maximise our impact through fair salaries for talented people is what defines our approach to pay.

How pay is governed at Save the Children

The Board of Trustees is responsible for defining Save the Children’s pay policy, and deciding on the salaries of the Chief Executive and his or her leadership team of executive directors, who are deemed to be key management personnel. To do this, the Board appoints a subset of trustees, including the Chair, to form a Performance and Remuneration Committee. This Committee oversees proper administration of Save the Children’s pay policy, evaluates executive performance, and decides on any changes to executive pay. The Committee meets at least twice a year.

Meetings are also attended by the Chief Executive, the Chief Operating Officer, the HR Director and the Reward Adviser, all in an advisory (non-decision making) capacity.

Our approach to pay

Our principles are to pay our staff a fair salary that is competitive within the charity sector, proportionate to the complexity of each role, and responsible in line with our charitable objectives. From these principles, we have defined our pay policy:

  1. Pay all staff within the top 25% (known as the upper quartile) of salaries in the UK charity sector, but do not compete on pay with the public or private sectors.
  2. Ensure that pay reflects performance by rewarding strong performers the most and weaker performers the least, while supportively managing performance improvement.
  3. Meet all national pay standards, and provide all paid staff with a living wage.
  4. Communicate the spread of pay through the organisation to our staff and to the public.

Save the Children adopts a number of practices through which this policy is implemented:

  1. Monitor charity sector salary trends through two leading salary surveys, annually adjusting our salary ranges to remain in the upper quartile of the charity sector.
  2. Provide larger salary increases for strong performers than for weaker performers. In 2015, actual salary increases varied from 0.5% to 3.5%, with an average of 2%.
  3. Provide all paid staff with a salary at least in line with guidance from the Campaign for a Living Wage (currently £9.40 per hour in London, £8.25 per hour outside London).
  4. Report the spread of pay in the organisation as a ratio of pay dispersion. The ratio between our highest and median UK-based salaries is 4:1.

View our staff costs for 2015