Comments are closed. Why top scorers can call the shotsOn 12 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today David Beckham’s last-minute goal against Greece that booked England’s placein the World Cup finals was worth its weight in gold to travel agents and themerchandising industry. But it was less good news for Manchester United. Becks’ stunning free kickadded yet another notch to his spiralling market value. He is unlikely to signa new contract with United involving less than £100,000 a week and the askingprice will rise if the midfielder excels in South Korea and Japan. United maylose Beckham to a European rival if it fails to meet his demands, and mighteven have to sell him before his contract expires in order to guarantee alucrative transfer fee. While the reward management in football might seem unique, ‘Beckamonics’ highlightssome underlying pay trends. Most obvious is the winner-take-all phenomenon. Thecombination of technology, mass marketing and globalisation enables talentedindividuals to command salaries far in excess of the average for theirparticular profession. This not only intensifies the war for talent but alsomeans organisations must adopt more flexible reward structures – includingperformance-related elements – to attract and retain talent. The degree to which this is happening can be seen from statistics on pay byoccupation. Most of us are aware that the pay gap between people in high- andlow- skilled occupations has got much wider in the past 25 years. What is lesswell known, is the gap is getting wider within occupations. Staff are beingrewarded for that ‘extra something’ – the flair or drive they bring to themarket whatever their position in the overall occupational hierarchy. Thisindicates that employers are becoming better at linking pay to individualperformance. This could be seen as a positive development as it shouldencourage workers to develop their talents and show greater effort. There is a downside, however. While a wider pay gap can motivate, it canalso promote envy and work against team spirit which is important for success.The risk is that while flexible reward systems are better at reflecting themarket value of individuals, they may run counter to efforts to improve theperformance of teams. For football clubs this can often be seen when traditional pay structuresgive way to market pressures – it is perhaps no coincidence that United’s formtends to dip when contract talks get bigger headlines than goals. The trend towards greater pay flexibility has not helped push the UK up theworld’s productivity league table. The trick for people managers is to devisereward systems that meet the demands of star performers without alienatingco-workers. While the stars may be the difference between victory and defeat,they can’t beat the opposition on their own. By John Philpott, Chief economist, CIPD Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.