To be annoyed about this salary...

(87 Posts)
damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 22:34:16

I was approached by an agency today for a short term PA role. Job is for a FTSE 250 supporting the CEO, CFO and management team just outside London. It looks like a full on role and I have a LOT of experience at that level.

Salary is £22k.

I have just looked at the company's Annual Report and the top three directors earn a total in excess of £5m (including pensions and incentives).

I'm wondering just how much bigger the pay gap is going to get.

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:35:44

sounds fair to me (not)

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:36:34

tell em to stick their job where the sun dont shine

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 22-Oct-13 22:36:43

Farkin 'ell. I used to get not far off that as a temp PA (definitely NOT for CEO of FTSE 250) back in 1999. And I was frankly rubbish.

How depressing - I would have thought that sort of role would be in the £40-£50k bracket.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 22-Oct-13 22:38:55

sounds standard to me sad

wages for admin type roles have not increased in the last 5 years those in more senior roles for many have. and what happened to the cap on bonuses, oh yes the government cut the tax rate

SeaSickSal Tue 22-Oct-13 22:40:36

May not be the company at fault but the agency.

Probably is tbh. Company will offer the agency something like £20ph to get them a PA and the agency will chance their arm they can pay £12ph and cream off £8 an hour themselves.

They will end up with someone shit and look bad. Really for a short term role they should offer a bit more than the going rate for a perm, not less. They won't get a decent temp for that money.

damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 22:41:38

Tondelay, I was earning £22k in 2001 as PA to the MD of a tin pot family owned company with just over 100 staff.

Workloads have probably quadrupled in that time as there are so few PAs and Administrators.

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:42:36

tell them if you shoved the broom up your back side you could sweep the floor at the same time rofl

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 22-Oct-13 22:43:40

They probably want a 21 year old out of university dolly bird who doesn't complain and doesn't have many options. skeptical moi

FreudiansSlipper Tue 22-Oct-13 22:44:09

i was earning over double that a few years ago in the city

when i occasionally look, if anything wages for pa's have dropped. my friend has recently taken on a similar role and gets less than i did. a few will earn a higher wage (some great 70k+)

could you travel into central london to earn more

I work as a PA to a partner in a big 4 firm and wouldn't get out if bed for that salary. They are taking the piss.

damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 22:46:25

Well, I've seen 21 year old dolly birds do a lot of damage...

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 22-Oct-13 22:47:13

Different role but I'm currently recruiting for a manager in my team and the salary HR have approved is the same as when I was in that role in 2003. hmm

emsyj Tue 22-Oct-13 22:48:09

My trainee PA was paid more than double that when I worked in the City 5 years ago. She was nice, but not very good. I would imagine an experienced and skilled PA would get paid substantially more than £22k in London and surrounds, at least if the company valued them and expected them to stick around.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 22-Oct-13 22:48:36

Yeah, me too me for example. I really was an APPALLING PA

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 22-Oct-13 22:49:08

That was to Dame Judy btw.

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:49:47

tell them your from poland and you will do it for half price

FreudiansSlipper Tue 22-Oct-13 22:51:21

i was too a really crap pa

the only reason they thought i was good was the md had never had a pa before, he thought i was great as i spent half my time sorting out his personal stuff

3asAbird Tue 22-Oct-13 22:51:49

I think mot wages are stagnating as its employers market these days so many cheap graduates so cutting corners. I think you should send back response worth more, done my reseach and you taking the piss.

damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 22:52:26

Ah yes, I could also wear a short skirt and high heels to the interview... and pout of course...

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:53:24

tell em you wouldn't even do voluntary work without getting paid

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 22:54:19

tell em you would rather be a toilet cleaner in new delhi

Isabelonatricycle Tue 22-Oct-13 22:55:20

Even if you ignore what the three directors recieve, that is completely ridiculous. (Though as SeaSickSal said, it may be the agency rather than the company). I expect to be paid considerably more than that. I know there are lots of graduates around, but you have the experience and for the role (working for the CEO/CFO etc!) they need someone like you.

drawsofdrawers Tue 22-Oct-13 22:59:03

Go for the interview, be amazing and when they offer it to you negotiate.

ShakeRattleNRoll Tue 22-Oct-13 23:00:04

tell em you would earn more in a sweat shop in bangladesh

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 22-Oct-13 23:00:48

what about being a bit sneaky and sending a cv into the company directly and bypassing the agency.....

you might find the salary is considerably more if you do that.
worth a try?

damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 23:01:03

I know which company it is.

The job was advertised last year through a different agency. £22k pro rata for 25 hours looking after a management team of 8!!! Bizarrely, the first agency approached me about that too. I told them to naff off.

Birdy28 Tue 22-Oct-13 23:02:41

It doesn't surprise me. I'm looking for a new PA job at the moment.

I was told recently by a recruitment company that roles offering more than £30k were rare nowadays and that the market for those roles is so saturated that people who have more experience and should be on 40k plus, were taking the lower paid roles.

It means that people like me who have only 5 years experience and are aiming for the £30k mark haven't got a chance of competing with the more experienced PA's. confused

damejudydench Tue 22-Oct-13 23:03:36

Where are you, Birdy?

FloozeyLoozey Tue 22-Oct-13 23:43:35

I only earn slightly more and I'm an office manager with a team of six to line manage and a lot of stress and responsibility.
Sounds realistic.

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 00:07:13

Floozey, how is that realistic? Are you in a parallel universe?

The top three directors earn £5 million between them and it's supporting eight of them. At that level, they're not going to be at all demanding are they?

PerpendicularVincentPrice Wed 23-Oct-13 01:08:51

It's a low salary for the role - at that level it should be in the 40-50k bracket, especially so close to London.

I know several experienced PAs in large companies and that's the standard. I think they'll struggle to get experienced candidates paying so little.

Monty27 Wed 23-Oct-13 01:12:31

Go to the interview. Do a hard negotiation. Greedy piss taking gits angry

raisah Wed 23-Oct-13 01:17:58

I get that working part time 26 hours.

Have a look at the recruitment pages of the institutions that you want to work for and apply directly. Higher ed institutions like universities are normally better at respecting work life balances than ftse companies.

Also remember that temping companies will recieve a % on top of the salary that you earn so eventhough the outlay to the firm is more, only a portion goes to you.

Want2bSupermum Wed 23-Oct-13 01:36:05

I wouldn't want to work for a company that doesn't value their employees. EA to CEO here in NYC makes between $100-150k plus bonus. 22k a year is a joke.

For kicks and giggles I would be tempted to tell them you are interested but want to pick the three days a week you will work.

raisah - I've worked in Universities for over 10 years and have to disagree I'm afraid. There's very little notice taken of work life balance once you're past quite a junior level... Oh, and the salaries are generally not great either... My PA certainly earns less than £25k. Just as well I like my job, eh? smile

ILetHimKeep20Quid Wed 23-Oct-13 07:34:31

You either want the job or not.

Birdy28 Wed 23-Oct-13 08:10:45

Dame, I commute into central London.

Companies just don't seem to value PA's anymore.

Birdy28 Wed 23-Oct-13 08:15:59

Oops posted too soon!

£22k is too low for a good PA particularly for supporting multiple Directors and a team. Its hard to believe the agency is even entertaining the idea that they will even get someone good who is capable of supporting multiple Directors for that.

Amateurish Wed 23-Oct-13 08:18:07

Market forces and all that. They will pay the minimum they can get away with. Why get upset about it? Just ignore, and move on to the next offering.

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 23-Oct-13 08:25:23

I think it depends what you are on now to be perfectly honest. If you are on nothing then it is a big step up. If it's temporary you might not be doing the full scope of the job description but the more day to day stuff. It might be a way of getting a foot in the door and getting something permanent. It might also be because the company is well regarded and just a couple of weeks there helps people to get the next and possibly better assignment.

It's what they are prepared to offer. You need to decide if it's worth your while to take it. And I don't think it's right to compare your worth to the most senior people in the organisation - they are earning what the organisation is prepared to pay them presumably due to their skills and their reputations. I imagine if you go in with the "not fair" attitude; "I'm being ripped off attitude" then you might go in with the wrong attitude and that won't be what they are looking for.

With years of experience and professional qualifications I don't earn a fortune but I work locally and I love my job and do it because it suits rather than earning double with an extra two hours of travelling which would not afford an acceptable work/life balance.

Two weeks on the equiv of £22k if you aren't working at present is £22k for that time that you aren't getting now. It will give you experience of a blue chip and make you more employable at higher rates in the future - especially if they like you.

SantiagoToots Wed 23-Oct-13 08:35:30

YANBU, it's ridiculous. I wasn't getting far off that as a secretarial temp in Croydon during uni holidays in the late-90's!

My counter-offer in "insulting salaries" is this: Dynamic, international, digital marketing company seeking portfolio/programme manager in central london with extensive experience. 23k.


fishybits Wed 23-Oct-13 08:44:53

My sister is a pa in London in a hedge fund company and earns 45K+. She's not earned less than 40k for 10 years and has only been in this role for 3 years.

The jobs are out there, you just have to go to the right agency.

Chunderella Wed 23-Oct-13 08:49:16

I'd go to the interview and negotiate on salary.

nicename Wed 23-Oct-13 08:52:00

I would have expected double that. Its not for a part time role is is?

Last city job I had was a faorly good salary but the 'working day' was 9-6. Hand on, when did a basic working day become 8 hours (pus going in early, working late and not stopping for lunch)?

ksrwr Wed 23-Oct-13 08:53:22

dame judy dench - this is EXACTLY my job... and if you want me to let you know how much you should really be being paid message me.

MissPlumBroughtALadder Wed 23-Oct-13 08:53:43

My sister is an executive PA for a financial company. She earns more than 85K plus perks!
22K is a joke, and I feel indicative of employment conditions generally going downhill in Britain at the moment.

nicename Wed 23-Oct-13 08:58:19

I think they are chancing it - assuming that people are so desperate that they will take any job going.

I remember one boss doing this - I pointed out to her that she was taking on a man with over 30 years work experience, had run his own business etc for a pretty junior role paying peanuts. Needless to say, he was off at the first whiff of a decent job after spending a few months telling her what to do and us how to do our jobs properly (he had no experience in what I did so I just smiled and flicked the odd elastic band his way).

expatinscotland Wed 23-Oct-13 09:01:41

I'd avoid the agency at all costs.

flowery Wed 23-Oct-13 09:18:08

How much the directors earn is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is the role itself, the responsibilities, experience level they are looking for etc.

I would agree that the salary sounds very low for a PA supporting directors in a FTSE250.

nicename Wed 23-Oct-13 09:18:32

They will realise that they will get candidates with little experience or people way over qualified (who will get itchy feet). They will up the salary and readvertise but would you want to work for a business so mean/incompetent/naive/stupid?

Keep looking.

I once negotiated (hard) for a specific salary for a part time job. Turns out the HOUR officer didn't understand pro rata to I ended up getting the full whack for part time. Of course the job was a nightmare, I was working every day, weekends, evenings, constantly at their beck and call... But hey, that makes me smile to this day.

DixonBainbridge Wed 23-Oct-13 09:25:28

They'll either get applications or they won't but if the wages are too low for you, don't apply - you don't have to.

If I advertised a job for specific wages & then spent time interviewing chancers that were trying to get them raised I wouldn't be impressed.

sparechange Wed 23-Oct-13 09:38:00

The laws of supply and demand mean that if you don't apply for it, and no one of a good enough calibre does, they will have to either take someone who is prepared to work for that, or up the salary and readvertise.

But it is irelevant to compare their salaries with those of the PAs. It is a totally different job market and a totally different skill set.
A FTSE company has a legal duty to maximise returns to shareholders, and that includes ensuring costs are appropriate. They will have a remuneration committee as part of the board who will look at director pay, but will also have HR reporting to them that they are appropriately benchmarking the pay of all employees to make sure it is appropriate.

LCHammer Wed 23-Oct-13 09:46:17

PA to 8 people in a part-time job? You know they'll each think you are theirs and full-time too.

Chunderella Wed 23-Oct-13 09:51:28

I really don't think you can call someone who would like the usual rate for the role a chancer Dixon. By all means an employer can attempt to undercut if they wish. However, they can't then get butthurt if it doesn't work. If you found yourself advertising for a role and all the suitable candidates wanted a higher salary, it would be prudent to think carefully about whether you had offered appropriate renumeration.

DixonBainbridge Wed 23-Oct-13 10:09:52

I can if the role is advertised at a certain rate & she has no intention of working for that amount.

Rather than waste everyone's time she should apply for jobs that are offering a wage she is willing to accept. Might be an idea to let the agency know this too, to prevent further "offence".

DixonBainbridge Wed 23-Oct-13 10:11:08

To me it sounds like the employers are chancers too.

But it's not worth the OP getting bothered about....

flowery Wed 23-Oct-13 10:14:46

If it's supporting that many people I would expect a team of admin support tbh. Are you sure it's the main senior PA rather than an assistant PA type person, so supporting that team but not on your own and secondary to the main executive PA?

Chunderella Wed 23-Oct-13 10:37:12

Well yes dixon, I suppose an employer can get as narky as they want even if they're totally taking the piss. Up to them. But the fact is that people do often negotiate on salary during between applying for and beginning in a job. It's very common, particularly for certain roles and sectors. So if an employer really doesn't want applicants to try and negotiate, the onus is on them to create a situation where it won't happen. I can think of two ways to do this. One, not to undercut the going rate. Two, to advertise the role with said piss take salary and be very clear that it can't/won't be negotiated on. The latter would still arguably make them a chancer, but at least they'll be alerting applicants to what they're like.

KitCat26 Wed 23-Oct-13 10:38:35

That really isn't much for the job or location!

When I was job hunting after my first office junior role there were 20k secretary jobs being advertised for London companies (2002).

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 13:36:50

Thanks everyone. Good to get some feedback (and check I am not going completely mad).

It is the only admin support for that group of directors. It's a PA job description but I was told it was more of an admin job really (i.e. doing things when asked). Knowing how busy and forgetful directors are, I should imagine you would be hopping about like a mad flea!

I haven't applied. I'm not interested. They obviously don't value or understand the role. No doubt some poor soul will take it.

lainiekazan Wed 23-Oct-13 13:56:56

It is a shame that the role of a PA has been devalued. A PA traditionally was a Miss Moneypenny type - highly efficient and usually a formidable woman of whom everyone in the company - from the most senior manager to the junior typist - was terrified, or at least very respectful towards.

Now a PAyyyyyy covers a multitude of sins and even someone fresh out of college has this title.

Also in many firms there aren't secretaries any more. There aren't in dh's company (meedja). I don't know about the civil service. It used to be the case that even the filing clerks had secretaries.

Are there still dollybirds? In some ways the role seems so 1960s.

willyoulistentome Wed 23-Oct-13 14:06:05

It's crap, but it's the way of the world. I have worked in Credit for nearly 20 years, and the wages being offered for credit controllers today are pretty much the same as when I started doing it 20 years ogo. I'm about to be made redundant and I am bricking it. Will probably have to take a 50% pay cut from my not quite full time job and have tp take a full time role.

southeastdweller Wed 23-Oct-13 14:22:24

For the role, location and business, the salary is shite and YY to them wanting a young dollybird type who can easily get by on that much.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 23-Oct-13 15:21:20

There's surely no way you can be a part-time PA in that situation, unless you are part of a bank of PAs in which case the job sounds bloody hellish anyway. I was a PA for a small vol sec org and it's hard work. That salary is a joke.

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 15:49:59

Yes, there are still dolly birds about. My last company employed two; one as a temp and another full time. Both were early twenties. They were both lovely girls but completely clueless because they didn't have any experience and needed direction all the time. Director concerned was a sucker for a pretty face/sharp suit. wink

No, you can't be part-time HopALongOn but if you asked a director how long they thought it took to find and book a flight they'd probably tell you about 10 seconds. Same as shifting a meeting (for the twentieth time). So...

25 hours ÷ 8 directors = 3.125 hours per director


MumblingMummy Wed 23-Oct-13 16:19:07

lainiekaza Yes, there are still secretaries of one form or another including Legal Secretaries and Medical Secretaries. Salaries average out at roughly £25k p.a. depending on location and experience. A PA is a different kettle of fish all together though with salaries ranging from £20K to £80k.

antimatter Wed 23-Oct-13 16:40:55

I think I know which company you may be talking about
Sadly they assume they will get a quality top PA (working 60 hour week at the very least I guess) for that money whilst they spend more than that a month on entertaining and refreshments for their meetings.

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 16:49:25

And a 60 hour week probably works out at about £8 per hour.

It's looking more and more appealing... confused

wispywoo1 Wed 23-Oct-13 18:47:13

As a teacher I received less than that last year. Yes I think YABU.

Mandy2003 Wed 23-Oct-13 18:57:03

My friend's DD is a PA for someone in the media. Her salary is around 50k.

Chunderella Wed 23-Oct-13 19:06:09

Really wispy? I thought the starting salary was 22k now, shows what I know.

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 19:30:45

Historically, teacher salaries have always been on the low side. You can also see the payscale before you apply for training so you know what you're letting yourself in for, Wispy.

This job is paying the same as the doddly one I was doing 12 years ago, for seven more people in a multi-million pound business. They want a graduate with experience. That sort of PA doesn't just make the tea and type a couple of letters.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 20:26:03

You can also see the payscale before you apply f77777777777777ntion (as stated in the contract)or training so you know what you're letting yourself in for, Wispy

Unless the conditions change after you train and begin the job of course. hmm

Incidentally I deliver employability advice in a criminal justice setting for prolific offenders and Class A drug users. The intervention (as stated in the contract) can only be delivered by someone with an IAG qualification above L4 who is also a qualified teacher. I get just over 22K. I'm currently working on convincing my company that if I were to leave they would never fill my post on that money.

I'm basically saying I suppose that everything is down to supply and demand. If the OP knows her skills are worth more than the money on offer the company is the loser if they fail to attract the best.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 20:26:51

Sorry about that. Cat on keyboard. grin

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 20:38:59

ilovesooty, that's so true. It wasn't that long ago a friend was telling me that when an employee left they had to pay well over and above her salary to even find a replacement (let alone a decent one!).

I guess you can vote with your feet but it depends on what else is out there.

I'm not even actively looking for a job at the moment thankfully.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 20:47:38

My line manager is bricking himself at the possibility of my leaving damejudydench He doesn't think my particular skill set would be at all easy to replace.

I guess you can vote with your feet but it depends on what else is out there I could work for the Work Programme for less responsibility and quite a bit more money...but I love my company and my job.

However if I thought I'd earn enough from my self employment (private counselling practice) I'd have some tough choices. At the moment I have as many clients as I can cope with but I don't know if that would extend to 9-5 work.

It's all down to what your skills can command but in a recession it all gets very difficult.

Retroformica Wed 23-Oct-13 20:51:01

Just tell them that you are intestered but the salary is far too low.

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 20:55:02

Hmm... tough one.

Not many people love their jobs or their company though, ilovesooty.

Bumblequeen Wed 23-Oct-13 20:57:33

In the organisation I work for, the Admin Officers are paid far more than that.

£22k is a very poor salary considering you will be supporting Directors in a large organisation.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 21:00:19

Not many people love their jobs or their company though, ilovesooty

Absolutely and I feel privileged to work where I do. However I do struggle when there are inconsistent applications of the pay policy...yes, it's a tough one as you say.

wukn80 Wed 23-Oct-13 21:21:18

I'm really shocked at some of the comments saying they'd expect double that, £50k etc etc

Are market rates for average PAs really that high in that locale? (I can understand exceptional ones, as in any job, but not par for the course)

If so, I think I studied the wrong subject at uni, neither of us earn anywhere near that and spent years gaining the professional qualifications needed to undertake even a junior role in our careers.

So, I think YABU (yes, even if it's London!) and if they can get someone to do that role at that salary, fair enough. if they're a crap candidate but cheap and they do the job "good enough", maybe "good enough" is acceptable. if it's not, they'll soon find out and have to re-recruit, potentially increasing the salary to the next rung to get better candidates.

I also don't think comparing it against the Snr Manager salaries is helpful - you're talking about fundamentally different skillsets, different legal obligations and barriers to entry.

2468Motorway Wed 23-Oct-13 21:48:45

I don't think its unreasonable to compare with the salaries of the senior management. In this case it merely confirms that it's likely to be a full on job for a skilled person.

People on here comparing it to teachers and other roles are not comparing like with like, in the PA world this job is more like a headteacher. It's senior and requires experience and a complex skill set. I'm not a PA btw).

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:00:58

In my experience, if they are offering a part time PA role, they know they can get it experience for silly low money.

Tell the agency you aren't interested in roles paying below £40k (or whatever your interest level is). If they want to forward your CV to the company, it should be with the clear explaination that you are looking for closer to £40k for it. It might be handy for the agency to send your CV with that information, they can then compare the CVs of those who will work for £22k and they might realise if they want degree and experience, they need to pay the market rates, or they accept they aren't getting someone experienced/educated for that money.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 23-Oct-13 22:40:22

A PA IS a professional role hmm

damejudydench Wed 23-Oct-13 23:15:26

Of course it's a professional role.

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what PAs actually do. I've been known to be on the phone to my boss at midnight making changes to his schedule for the next day (because the company has hit the headlines as the share price has plunged) and in the office at 6am in preparation for making 500 people redundant across EMEA.

Isabelonatricycle Wed 23-Oct-13 23:23:49

wukn80 this isn't an average PA job though. This is PA to the management team for a FTSE 250 company. Very different animals!

I agree that the salaries for said individuals is irrelevant, however, those figures should give an idea of the role and responsibilities their PA will have. Good PAs at the top end of companies will practically be running the organisation!

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