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News - 29 December 2009

Are some of us just a bit too rich?

The recent financial crises has made us question (not for the first time) the inequality of salaries. Is the value of what we each give to society commensurate with the amount of money we each take?

A new research study carried out by NEF (the New Economics Foundation) has devised a model to analyse the value of input and output in a range of different workplace scenarios with some very interesting results.

The report uses some of the principles and valuation techniques of Social Return on Investment analysis to quantify the social, environmental and economic value that different roles produce – or in some cases undermine.

It takes an in-depth look at six different jobs from across the private and public sectors that illustrate the problem. Three are low paid – a hospital cleaner, a recycling plant worker and a childcare worker. The others are highly paid – a City banker, an advertising executive and a tax accountant.

A close look at how these jobs impact on the environment, public health and well being as well as the economy leads to a turning of the tables as far as worth is concerned. The findings demonstrate a breakdown in the relationship between pay and value derived.

According to the report hospital workers, childcare workers and recycling workers contribute more to society than bankers and advertising executives but those who contribute least are top tax accountants who are "accused" of depriving the Inland Revenue of funds that could be put to good use (although there is no suggestion that what they do is in any way illegal).

Findings show that:

  • For every £1 of value spent on recycling wages, £12 of value will be generated.
  • For every £1 paid to a hospital cleaner over £10 in social value is generated
  • For every £1 they are paid, childcare workers generate between £7 and £9.50 worth of benefits to society.
  • For a salaries of between £500,000 and £10 million, leading City bankers destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate.
  • For a salary of between £50,000 and £12 million, top advertising executives destroy £11 of value for every pound in value they generate.
  • For a salary of between £75,000 and £200,000 tax accountants destroy £47 of value for every pound in value they generate.

Click on link below for the report.

Click here to download A Bit Rich?


Read related items on:
Employment
Employment
Surveys
New Economics Foundation


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