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People ask us why we’re so transparent with our pay structure. Our reply: why wouldn’t you be?

21 Apr 2021 | Glenda Chantry


#GoodWorkplaces should be transparent around pay, with pay bands advertised for all roles. In this blog, PDSA HR Shared Services Manager Glenda Chantry explains why this is important, and the benefits it can bring to veterinary businesses.

We’ve got more than 2,000 people working at PDSA. From our amazing clinical teams in our 48 Pet Hospitals through to the part-time Assistant Shop Managers in our 100 or so Retail shops – everyone is playing their part to help us treat sick and injured pets of people in need.

And with more than 2,000 employees across hundreds of different roles it would be easy to keep our pay structures hidden away. But for us that doesn’t feel right.

We’ve made a conscious effort to make sure that we have an equitable and transparent pay structure. It’s important to us because it reflects our culture and can give our teams the confidence that they can trust that we are paying them equally and fairly whatever role they do.

It’s not about publishing everyone’s individual salary

Pay transparency doesn’t mean publishing what everyone earns down to the final penny. But by openly sharing the framework and principles upon which our pay structure is built, everyone at PDSA has access to the salary bands for every single role at the click of a button through our intranet. 

Growing our own talent is really important to us, especially being in a profession where there’s a national shortage of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

Yet despite that shortage and despite the challenges Covid has thrown at us and our ability to deliver our normal scope of service, that doesn’t mean that we can’t bring in new talent to bolster the incredible work our teams already do. In fact, we’re really excited that we’re going to be giving opportunities to 20 new Graduate Veterinary Surgeons who will be joining us later in the summer.

One of the main benefits for having a transparent pay structure is that it supports us in being able to nurture that talent from the outset. Our people can see clear career pathways and understand what they have to do in their career to progress – both on a professional level and in earning power. 

Without this transparency organisations can fall into the trap of creating an environment of secrecy, gossip and pay inequalities – and that doesn’t feel like a recipe for success.

Don’t annoy your future employees

There’s nothing more annoying when you’re potentially looking for your next career move then finding a job advert which sounds like your dream job – but doesn’t tell you what the salary is. We don’t want people to invest their time in a process only to find out way down the line that the salary isn’t what they were looking for. It wastes their time and it wastes ours.

Our approach is to advertise all of our roles with salary information from the outset.

That way we all know from the start where we stand. It doesn’t create an expectation gap from the candidate – and it also helps our hiring managers to know that they’ve got a clear structure to work within and prevents difficult salary negotiations when hiring candidates.

We have to remain competitive

There’s often an assumption that because we’re a charity, the pay and benefits we offer are going to be less than working for a corporate company. But this isn’t the case.  We need to offer a competitive package because to provide the best possible care for the pets we see, we need to secure the best people for the job. Having a transparent pay structure can hopefully give the people who might be thinking about a role with us, the reassurance that we’re not only competitive, but that we’re living our Values by being open about it too.

Of course our funds are limited, and we have to be careful about how we spend our donors’ money, but we wouldn’t be able to operate a professional service without paying our employees fairly for the work they do.

Great transparency should be a win-win for the sector

Whilst we’ve been publishing our salaries on job adverts for some time – and there’s certainly a movement encouraging others to do so through campaigns like the #ShowTheSalary pledge – it still feels like the lack of transparency on veterinary job adverts hinders our ability to ensure we are keeping our salary level competitive in the market place.

We don’t have the luxury of veterinary specific salary surveys to help us with benchmarking so job adverts play an important part in us ensuring we are keeping pace. But greater transparency across the sector should be a win-win for everyone. If companies were more open about the salaries they are offering it would enable a greater level of consistency across the profession.  Salary is of course only one element of the total reward package; but it’s an extremely important one and we want our people to have confidence that we’re being open and transparent so that they feel valued and are paid fairly compared to the marketplace in which we operate. 


Find out more about our Good workplaces policy position and access our resources


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