Private sector and negotiating pay

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Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby DrPrincess » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:42 am


I've been offered an interview for a CP post with a private provider. The salary they're offering is the equivalent to an 8b NHS position. A few people have strongly encouraged me to negotiate on salary. I had no idea this was 'the done thing' in private practice so I'm just after people's experiences of this...I wouldn't know where to begin! Or what is a reasonable figure to settle on. Anyone have any experience of this?

Thanks :)
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Re: Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby maven » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:42 pm

It depends on whether this is a step up anyway, and how much you want the job. But you can reasonably argue for 20% more than a current NHS post on the basis of losing the terms and conditions such as the sick leave and pension.

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Re: Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby alexh » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:54 pm

Calculate your value to them (eg billable hours a year, work brought in, etc) minus the overheads and costs and any value they add to you, and bear this figure in mind when negotiating.
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Re: Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby BlueCat » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:01 pm

Pretty sure I've posted about this. I've worked in the private sector and did negotiate my salary, successfully.

Some things to bear in mind:

There are not usually automatic increments, or even automatic annual salary reviews in the private sector, so you want to be aiming for the sort of salary you would be happy to still be on in three/four years time. I was in the private post I was in for 3.5 years, same salary throughout (ish - I negotiated a 2k uplify following successful completion of initial six months probationary period).

There is usually less annual leave, so the salary you are offered doesn't map onto the same amount of work as in the NHS (for me, with 10+ years, it was two weeks different)

The working week can be longer, so, as above, the salary you are offered doesn't map onto the same amount of work as in the NHS.

To take the longer working week and less annual leave together....40 hours vs 37.5 hours might seem negligible, but over a year and factoring in less annual leave 40 x 48 = 1920 37.5 x 46 = 1725; 1920 - 1725 = 195 hours more work! 195 hours is about five weeks extra work!

There will be little to no sick pay.

You will probably not have access to an occupational maternity scheme

You will not have access to NHS pension

There will not be the same investment in your CPD - my employer even considered requiring us to pay for our own supervision, since it was a requirement of our professional registration! This was much much more noticeable than I had anticipated - the emphasis was on them purchasing my services, and me needing to account for how I was meeting their needs with my time, rather than any investment in me at all.

I negotiated a middle point on the band above the band I was coming into the post from. I tried to negotiate on leave and they wouldn't budge. All private providers are different, so my experience as outlined above may be different to whoever you are going to work for. From the other posts I have bumped up, for example, it sounds like working for Miriam would offer a lot more in terms of personal development than the employer I was with. The post served me well in giving me experience in a more autonomous, senior role, that allowed me to return to the NHS on that same, higher band, with a recruitment variance that allowed me to go onto the same spine point in that band as if I had been in the NHS for my private post. Good luck!
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Re: Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby DrPrincess » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:42 pm

Hi guys,

Thank you so much for your helpful replies. Feels like a different world! I will certainly negotiate if I get offered the position. I'll also need to check out sickness pay, maternity, annual leave etc. I'm sure I'll have more questions too so brace yourselves :lol:
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Re: Private sector and negotiating pay

Postby miriam » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:12 am

I think it really depends on the type of organisation, and their terms and conditions. Some are providers that struggle to recruit and have to be willing to negotiate to get good people. But some private providers with NHS contracts use NHS bandings and offer NHS pensions. Some are big companies which have set budgets and expectations, and don't offer flexibility in going beyond the advertised salary. Some are charities or social enterprises that are not primarily for profit, and have very tight budgets that have to be justified to a board and/or inspectors. Others are clinician-led enterprises, like mine, that are too small to match the terms and conditions of the NHS sick, maternity or pension but offer much more autonomy and a different type of job rather than more money.

I'd like to think that we offer much more autonomy and influence over the work we do as a company, and have a much less pressured environment with much greater access to managers/supervisors (aka me). But we also offer a nice working environment with free parking right outside, your own desk, your own computer, proper resources, lots of CPD, and a couple of meals out each year funded by the company. We don't let process stuff become burdensome*. We provide a health cash-back scheme to cover optical, dental, complementary therapy and private consultant fees (which also offers telephone counselling and occupational health support if required). Our working week is 37.5 hours - and this is a real 37.5 hour week that you are more likely to actually stop after than I ever had in the NHS. We also offer an annual bonus for staff that perform well in post, if the company is profitable, and we always challenge staff to grow into greater responsibility so that they can progress in their career. We've also done a lot of things the NHS can't do - offered flexible working, or assistance to help people sort out their finances, or time to pursue projects of personal interest that might complement the existing business remit.

Basically, I think people work with me because they like the way we work, the team and the culture. As a result of these differences, I've never had to go above NHS salaries to appoint good people to my own business (although I'm aware of recruitment difficulties in some of the companies I've consulted to).

*We don't have forms to fill in to request equipment, for example. Whether it is a new mobile phone/laptop/psychometric tool/book or whatever, we have a conversation and then order it that day. The same with booking training or CPD events, or deciding whether to try something new. When we offer someone a job we can produce an offer straight away, get DBS checks done in 3-5 working days and give a start date at the end of their notice period - so we often get them started with us 2-4 weeks after interview. We even provide free tea and coffee, which always seems to be a huge time sink in the NHS.

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