Pay and reward

Good approaches to reward link organisational aims with practices that will deliver the right result - be it staff motivation, cost management or market alignment.

Pay and earnings are also key labour market indicators and are directly related to employment policy objectives such as higher rates of productivity and reduced in-work poverty.

For employers, we take a highly bespoke and context-sensitive approach to ensure that reward delivers the desired objectives. We approach reward with a fresh eye, and we use the widest range of tools available to ensure that the design matches intention. 

In public policy, we are interested in the overall movement of wages in the economy, in productivity and its relationship to pay, the national minimum wage and its relationship to employment and welfare.

Contact: Duncan Brown

Our work in this area

Find out more about specific areas of our work below.

Pay and employment policy

We work with the Low Pay Commission and others to examine the relationship between pay and employment for particular groups and sectors, including the impact of the minimum wage. We have also conducted a series of international studies about the relative pay of men and women and the factors affecting pay equality, as well as the links between wages, productivity and employment.

Our work in this area

Gender pay gap

IES has a long history of helping organisations to examine how gender and other factors may unwittingly be impacting on pay levels and what can be done to address this. We have worked with all types of clients and national bodies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

We have carried out equal pay audits for clients for many years and have assisted with job evaluation, pay structure reforms and pay progression to address any gaps identified.

We have also been close to the development of the latest set of requirements on gender pay reporting by the Government Equalities Office and are actively providing advice and support to clients in addressing these new regulations.

Gender pay resource hub

Reward strategy

Too few organisations integrate their reward strategy with the broader HR or business strategy. Too many make people management changes in isolation of reward. The result is imitation of what other organisations do, and little attention to what will drive improved organisational performance.

For our clients we work differently by firmly embedding reward in the context of the internal drivers for change and external environmental challenges.

Our work in this area


Engaging Manager assessment

Engaging Manager assessment

Looking to find out how engaging your managers are and whether your reward initiatives are succeeding? 

Take a look at our Engaging Manager assessment tool or please get in touch with Amanda Callen

Reward management

Balancing the need for simplicity with the flexibility to deal with organisational complexity is one of the big challenges in reward.

Business units, occupational groups and functions may each have unique needs. Delivering reward segmentation successfully, through job families and total reward initiatives, can be hard on tight budgets.

We are experienced in identifying affordable approaches that meet business needs and deliver workable solutions, with sensitivity to organisational dynamics. 

We have helped:

  • design new grading systems;
  • design new pay architectures;
  • design new non financial recognition systems; and
  • connect performance to reward through base or variable pay.

Our work in this area

Reward process design

Implementation is one of the weaknesses of reward management. Insufficient attention is given to the detail of management and communications - identifying stakeholders, obtaining their views, building support for proposals, getting business sign off, communicating outcomes, training in new processes and evaluating results against initial objectives.

We can undertake the implementation basics: cost modelling, the development of operating and control procedures, and building management capability.

We can also facilitate change for your organisation by developing an understanding of what needs to be done then building support, including getting employee representatives on board.

Our work in this area

Evaluating the effectiveness of reward

Whilst organisations hope that their reward approaches deliver the goods, too few evaluate the effectiveness of expensive initiatives. They do not collect the data or even specify what success might look like.

We have evaluated many reward systems for their effectiveness and looked at changes to policies and practices, including equal pay reviews, market position assessments and stakeholder opinion surveys. We are especially interested to see to what extent reward is delivering in terms of employee engagement and meets employee interests of fairness, opportunity and need.

We can help by providing an evaluation framework, and the tools, confidence and expertise for data gathering and analysis.

IES experts

Duncan Brown Catherine Rickard Peter Reilly Professor Stephen Bevan
Duncan Brown
Head of HR Consultancy
Catherine Rickard
Senior Research Fellow
Peter Reilly
Principal Associate
Professor Stephen Bevan
Director, Employer Research and Consultancy

Related projects

Developing your reward strategy: issues, challenges and solutions
Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)

Wage bargaining regimes and pay outcomes study
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)

Reward strategy
Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service

Redeveloping performance appraisal and the link to pay

Reward framework for Wellcome Sanger
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Pay progression practice in the private sector
Office of Manpower Economics

What works in reducing pay gaps?
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)