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a blog by Chris Barrow

My annual appraisal and pay review - 1980-1985

After yesterday's reminiscing on my early sales career at Hambro Life Assurance, I was reminded that, in January each year, I would attend my annual appraisal with manager Barry Woolley.

First a review of my performance (against sales targets) and behaviour (the extent to which I was a positive member of the team).

Then the "reveal" on my annual bonus (a very clear formula based purely on performance over target).

Next up, next year's target....

This always involved two components:

  1. The reduction of my geographical area ("we are carving your area in two and giving half to a new sales rep);

  2. The increase in my sales target, usually a 20% increase on my previous year's performance (that's last year's actual, not last year's target - so the more successful I became, the more the increase in the following year).

When I started in 1980, my "patch" extended from Stoke on Trent to Lancaster and from Merseyside to Manchester. By 1985 my "patch" was Manchester City Centre only.

Finally, Barry Woolley would inform of my increase in basic pay from the pervious year.

Hambro Life used another very simple formula:

  1. Every employee in the company, sales of support, had their basic wage increased in line with the previous year's "Average Earnings Index" (AEI) - we were guaranteed to maintain our parity with a basket of UK wages;

  2. Add to that an increase in grade according to longevity;

  3. Add to that an increase in grade if you were given and accepted more responsibility.

Everyone knew exactly where they stood - the more you sell, the more you earn, the more you do, the more you earn, all built on the foundation of AEI increases.

As I recalled these meetings, it prompted me to take a look at AEI today. So can you HERE.

From there you can download a very interesting speadsheet - from which the last available date is up to September 2023, revealing that average basic pay in the UK rose by 7.80% in the preceding 12 months.

So when clients ask me about pay rises now, my response is:

  1. 7.80% to restore their parity;

  2. Additional to reward longevity;

  3. Additional to reflect increased responsibility.

As to bonuses - more on that tomorrow.

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