The NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) has claimed that the next generation of nurses consider the ‘total reward’ package of a role, and not just the salary, when deciding whether to enter the NHS.
In their 2018 report, the PRB say they will continue to assess total reward as part of all future reviews into NHS pay, as it believes that the NHS needs to ‘promote the attractiveness of the employment offer’ within the organisation to remain competitive to a new generation of graduates.
Their report, which also acknowledged the recently-agreed NHS pay deal, made no specific recommendation for pay.
It said: ‘We observe that modern employers focus on total reward, which includes pay, benefits and the whole working experience, to ensure that they can recruit, retain and motivate staff. Pensions form a valuable component of the total reward package for Agenda for Change staff, as does flexible working. NHS organisations need to promote the attractiveness of the employment offer in the NHS, particularly to remain competitive in the eyes of the next generation of entrants.’
The PRB also warned that a career in the NHS is only competitive with regard to pay, when compared to other graduate roles, for the first five years on Agenda for Change contracts.
The report said: ‘Our assessment of earnings against the graduate market suggests that nurses’ starting pay is competitive in the first five years in the NHS. However, while nurses move up the Agenda for Change pay band, the position is less competitive with other graduate occupations after the five-year point.’
They also offered words of caution for the move to shorter pay bands under the new pay deal, claiming that the fewer pay points will ‘place greater onus on the performance review and on the standards required for progression’.
The report added: ‘These arrangements will be different from current incremental pay progression. New performance management processes and the supporting evidence will therefore need to be transparent and effective to avoid denying appropriate progression, or creating disagreements which would have a more significant financial impact on individual staff and, potentially, influence their retention.
‘Shorter pay bands and quicker pay progression could lead to larger proportions at the top of all pay bands for a longer part of their career. This could have implications for the pace of promotion to higher bands, the initial pay effect on promotion and limited progression thereafter. The lack of headroom at the top of bands could also have retention implications where career development incentives might be required for individuals not promoted.’