Negotiating pay - private consultant posts

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michael2806
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Negotiating pay - private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Hey everyone,

I've been seeing quite a few consultant psych posts on psychapp recently and I was just wondering why there is such a wide range of salary ranges, despite these roles being fairly similar in terms of skills and responsibility? Some I've seen have range all the way from 8a to much higher than the NHS rate; is there any particular reason for this?

Thanks

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BlueCat
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by BlueCat » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:21 pm

There is more freedom for the private sector to offer salary commessurate with experience and skill in the private sector, and to vary the job accordingly. I have recently started working in the private sector, and there were several of us appointed to the "same" post in different parts of the country at the same time. We have all brought different levels of skill and experience, and are all paid differently (although it is private what we are paid). We have been appointed at varying pay points from mid-7 (for a newly qualified) to mid 8b (8 years post-qual) and the more senior have more responsibility for organisational/operational issues devolved from our clinical lead in comparison to the more junior staff in the "same" role. It is also worth remembering that in the private sector, there is no automatic progression up the bands (although this is stopping in the nhs too, I think). You basically get what you can negotiate, based on what you can offer. So it really is different to the nhs in that the salary range on offer is huge, as opposed to the restrictive A4C bandings. Does that make sense?
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michael2806
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:49 pm

Thanks for your response BlueCat. It does make sense thank you, but if I may just check I've got the right end of the stick? So you can be appointed to a clinical psychologist post, but depending on previous experience, skills, and therefore what you can offer to a employer, you can in essence negotiate on the basis of that, under the general title of clinical psychologist?

The only reason I ask (if its of interest) is just to gain an appreciation of how things work outside the NHS, given that this is likely to become an increasingly likely destination for the current crop of trainee CPs in future.

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Re: private consultant posts

Post by BlueCat » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:00 pm

Not sure what you mean about "being under the general title of clinical psychologist"? Nothing general about it, you will be working as a clinical psychologist. It is normal practice in the private sector to negotiate your salary. But yes, you apply for a job as a clinical psychologist and then you negotiate your salary.
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michael2806
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:17 pm

Sorry, I meant in the sense of not being identified by grade as the NHS may do e.g. Specialist, principal. Mind you, trusts seem to apply these titles irrespective of the banding now! Thanks again

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miriam
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by miriam » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:26 pm

Some map directly (eg my current vacancy is 'band 7 equivalent') and some are more negotiable. I'd not expect to be able to negotiate much more than NHS money in the current climate though, unless they REALLY want you.
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:39 pm

I would expect that you're right Miriam, given that the posts may have a significant number of applicants; supply and demand I suppose. That being said, I would assume if an employer contribution is not being offered on par with the NHS, this may be factored into negotiations.

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Re: private consultant posts

Post by Borrowed Cone » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:25 pm

michael2806 wrote:That being said, I would assume if an employer contribution is not being offered on par with the NHS, this may be factored into negotiations.
Maybe to some extent, but they are under no obligation to match NHS equivalent pay.
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by BlueCat » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:31 pm

Good point BoCo. There was a post with a private organisation really really close to my home that was only offering bottom of band 7.
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by miriam » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:11 am

Personally, to date I've never negotiated pay at all. I make an offer, and I feel like the person then has the chance to weigh up the advantages of my company (way of working, support, autonomy, ethos, being valued, friendly team, nice offices, free parking, good CPD, well resourced, potential bonus at end of year) compared to those of other options available and then accept or decline it. For a newly qualified CP I pay £30k. If someone asked me for £35k I'd tell them they were welcome to find a job elsewhere that offered that. That said, if an existing employee shows me they are worth more by taking on more responsibility and making themselves essential to the business, I also have the ability to offer increments that are over £1k per year.
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by BlueCat » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:52 am

That's a really good point, Miriam, I guess practice in terms of negotiating pay varies across non-NHS organisations, although broadly matches A4C rates. With that 30k, do you offer pay progression similar to A4C? The organisation that I work for doesn't,which kind of made it important to negotiate a good starting salary! I guess one of the issues here is that you have the FREEDOM to negotiate pay, if you wanted to. You aren't restricted or disconnected in the way that NHS employers are with A4C pay rates. If you wanted to offer an experienced person currently in an 8a role something in the middle of 8b, you could; whereas an NHS employer would have difficulty starting that person anywhere other than the bottom, even if they wanted to.
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by HedleyLamarr » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:50 am

A4C seems to be reference point for pretty much all the jobs I see outside of the NHS. Its probably a difficult question to answer but I'm wondering if its possible that the changes to the NHS in England (which I only have a sketchy understanding of) will result in wages for psychologists outside the NHS being more determined by the marketplace or will they continue to be tethered to A4C for the foreseeable future?
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:35 pm

Very interesting point HedleyLamarr. My experience of looking at jobs has been very similar, in that A4C is used as the reference point for jobs, with some flexibility depending on the employer and terms and conditions on offer; for example, I have seen NQ jobs going from slightly below A4C, to somewhat significantly higher. However, the job descriptions have had some interesting alterations.

I think whether these rates will change will be down to a complex mix of factors, as with any other profession. For example, as good friend of mine who works as a solicitor in family law has seen his income and prospects decrease markedly due to changes in the way government funding is provided for legal support. However, another friend who works in management consultancy has seen big increases in her prospects and earnings due to significant numbers of HR functions being outsourced, with increased use of her services in the public sector due to wide scale changes in how services are structured and run.

Changes in the demand within the economy, and the political party in power will be primary drivers I think, as the current government seems to be confused in thinking cheap=quality, with public discourse seeming to support reduced investment in public services. Hopefully, as things improve economically, a more long term, quality focused public service will return with the public supporting increased funding for higher quality services.

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Re: private consultant posts

Post by matt.berlin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:43 pm

Apologies if this takes the discussion slightly away from the topic, but it is linking on to the discussion of A4C. I can't help but feeling there is often a fair bit of A4C bashing (in general not just here). Yes, like any system it will have its pros and its cons both in design and in implementation. I think some of the comments I have heard and read relate to a perceived lack of flexibility in A4C. I think to some extent this is true, but also that this was designed in for good reason (after all, complete flexibility pretty much negates the point of a national pay scale).

To my mind one of the main issues here is equal pay. The government has been trying to convince us that we should have locally determined pay (presumably because they believe this will cut NHS staff wages). However, the risk I see is returning to greater pay inequality, not just between areas but within say a single Trust or commissioning area. We only have to look at recent history to see that over the past four decades since the Equal Pay Act in 1970, the public sector has been shockingly appalling at ensuring equal pay and conditions for male and female staff (and this . One of the structural ways that this happened was for example, some local authorities paying refuse collectors (predominantly male) far more than nursery staff (predominantly female). Trade union officials were also much better at negotiating favourable pay and terms for male members than female counterparts. Reforms to pay scales in the last decade were partly an attempt to address these inequalities by seeking to measure what the required skills, experience and competencies were needed for a particular job and to try to find a relatively equitable way of comparing this to other jobs (even though comparing apples with pears might seem like an impossible task).

Though I can see the appeal of freedom and flexibility, particularly in the eyes of individuals, I am concerned that a sustained erosion of nationally agreed pay scales will lead to greater inequalities and reduced pay for the vast majority of workers, even if a select few will be net winners. The theory of collective bargaining is that we all get a better deal as employees if we use pool our power in negotiating with employers. By breaking up the English NHS the government is already trying its best to weaken our influence and introduce a dog-eat-dog culture to the health service. And I really don't think this is something we should be revelling in. Just because it works for private capital doesn't mean it is in the greater good.
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michael2806
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Re: private consultant posts

Post by michael2806 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:40 am

To provide my thoughts matt.berlin, I agree that A4C on the whole is a good thing; in theory it provides transparency, a clear link between required competencies and pay and a nationally agreed pay scale. On this latter point I think it is a very positive, as I think believers in the free market make the arguement that it gets in the way of local, private sector companies being able to compete with the NHS in areas of relative deprivation. In my opinion this is a nonsense, pulled straight from the pages of the trickle down fairy dust economics textbook which seeks to dress up a race to the bottom and growing inequality as somehow being able to provide prosperity; it doesn't, it just shoves pockets of deprivation into greater deprivation.

I think my gripe with the A4C is several fold: a) it is unequally applied across the UK (differences between trusts and even within trusts in terms of what band posts are pegged at can be quite large); b) people who historically held, and continue to hold large amounts of power managed to negotiate out of it (i.e. medics, dentists, VSMs), assumedly to pave the way for higher career grades and an inability to compare to others professions (recent conversations with an NHS dentist friend of mine to the tune of 'well we won't discuss my profession, because we're not on A4C, so your arguements are irrelevant' comes to mind), and c) it seems that despite the alleged structure and transparency of the scale, many senior CPs have been downbanded but allocated the same responsibilities (surely that is an oxymoron in theory).

In theory it is a wonderful idea; I think the problem is how it has been tinkered with to meet Trust's financial situations, and abused in a manner inconsistent with the spirit of it. I think private providers do use it as a reference point, however I think that (as you would expect of private sector providers) many companies are aware that it is a buyers market for employment, so offer roughly around A4C rates, but often without adjustment for the lack of relatively favourable NHS terms and conditions (this is obviously not unique to health). I think A4C should be preserved at all costs at a national level, but a serious conversation needs to take place with NHS employers about its application.

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