• Peter Bateman
    77
    The Safeguard 2019 income survey shows a median base income for full-time respondents (410 of them in the sample) of $96,230, down $3000 from last year.

    Respondents were asked which professional body or bodies they belonged to. Of those bodies which were selected by at least 20 full-time respondents, the results were:
    IOSH members (32) $115,450
    NZISM members (222) $99,270
    NZOHNA members (26) $85,830

    (As for the discussion title, of course I assume all Forum members are "the best people".)
  • Andrew
    142
    Your thread title appears to assume "pay" is a primary motivator. Perhaps it isn't.

    Maybe a role where you can actually achieve something meaningful is more important and thus pay becomes less relevant.

    Maybe higher pay is needed to compensate for a raft of other (negative) issues a person might face in taking up safety related roles.

    Maybe pay should be based on post-recruitment achievements, rather than pre-employment potential.

    I've no idea if $96k is enough (as a median) as I have no idea what objectives / responsibilities might be tied to such a role.

    Is there any suggestion employers are hiring people who they dont think are the "best"
  • Rob McAulay
    12
    Hi Peter
    I tend to agree with most of Andrew's comments regarding this question. I have noted recently that the industry and the organisation's understanding of H&S also play a part in the level of salary. Private sector appear to pay above the median whereas the Public sector are often below, there also appears to be an interesting range in the Public sector as well.
    I also agree with Andrew (a trend emerging here) that the key motivator for some H&S professionals does not appear to be pay but the challenges presented by the role and organization.
    Also I have yet to meet a H&S Professional who doesn't think they are good at what they do but "the Best" is a very relative term.
  • Lee Keighley
    7
    I agree - H&S roles do not pay enough. For the qualifications that you are required to have and the competency and ability to complete the role, it is important that the salary rate is reflective of the value that you add to a business.

    It appears that construction pays higher than other industries. Is this correct? If so, why aren't other industries equal to construction companies?

    Health and safety is supposed to be of high importance to everyone in NZ, maybe this is one reason for people not entering into this profession.

    IT and gaming are of more value - monetary wise.

    I disagree that money isn't a motivating factor, because I believe it is. People want to earn a fair wage for working. Is it fair that the salaries offered don't reflect what a company want and needs out of the H&S person?
  • MattD2
    25

    What are the qualifications that are required for a job in H&S? I would say that (at least in NZ) the H&S industry is still professionalising. This means there are is a very wide range for what is defined as competent in the industry - we should not kid ourselves that we are close to where other professional industries are at, such as medical, legal, engineering or finance. Don't get me wrong, we are progressing towards it - we just have a fair way to go, however this does have an impact on the value that society places on H&S professionals in general (at least in relation to other regulated professions).

    In my experience the construction industry is heavy compliance focused (and not just in H&S), as well as an increased level of external monitoring of performance than most other industries due to the typical contractual arrangements - this has lead to a reliance on efficient/effective Construction HSEQ Compliance Managers, which if you engage a good one can significantly reduce risk of costs/delays/etc. due to getting the right information with sufficient quality to the external monitoring party (e.g. the engineer to the contract) at the right time... this can justify a higher salary (as it should save money in the long run)

    On a side note - yesterday I saw a presentation which included research on "job satisfaction" surveys and one of the findings was (rough memory here) about 2/3rds of workers would forgo a pay-rise if instead their boss was fired... which goes to show that job satisfactions does trump basic financial remuneration...
  • Chris Hyndman
    25
    Unfortunately our profession is one of the few where, on the face of it, nothing happens when we get it right, so the tangible results of our work isn't as visible as it is in other professions.

    Having said that, I've never met a good health and safety professional yet who is only in it for the money.
  • Rob Carroll
    7
    If you would like to understand motivations , read Maslow's hierarchy of needs (a quick google search will bring up a wealth of info). Like any support service in industry, and any job, you are only worth what an employer is able (and willing) to pay. There are also factors such as the local economy, supply and demand etc etc that will determine the pay that a role attracts. You can pay a lot and get someone short of 'the best' - pay and competence are not necessarily proportional.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    66
    Underneath this discussion about pay, we should also be talking about the obligations and responsibilities - overtly assigned or implied by employer position descriptions. Given that so many people acting as Officers have yet to adequately engage with safety and risk management, and that current legislation continuously threatens Officers with dire legal and financial consequences of failure, there is a distinct pattern of Officers scrambling to cover their legal risks, offloading many of these responsibilities to safety managers / advisors who are not provided with sufficient authority or resources to do what is needed. If you have a conscience and half a brain, why would you want to put yourself in the line of fire for people who care more about their bonus and personal reputation than for the team that supports them?

    I am not as cynical as that might sound. It's just that I can see very clearly where there are still gaps and flaws in the current approach, and many managers are not ready to hear what is really needed or to commit to doing the work. Instead of seeing the work as an investment, they only see cost and obstacles.

    In many ways, safety practitioners who go along with this type of management values become complicit in perpetuating these systemic business failures. And practitioners who are afraid of missing opportunities and undervalue their own role - the knowledge, skills, experience, responsibilities, challenges, the times when people want to shoot the messenger, and all those really difficult aspects of the work we do - if people undervalue this and accept roles that are not appropriately remunerated, it not only limits that person's circumstances; it also reinforces these expectations across the profession (I listened to a very similar discussion amongst freelance journalists a few years ago - remuneration tends to settle around the lowest fee people are willing to accept, which drags everyone else down to that level, then starts leading to unhelpful work practices just to be able to earn enough to live on!).

    Then when people accept roles with low remuneration just to have a job (often motivated by the desire to escape from a role that was already doing this to them and they had to get out before they were ground down to oblivion!), resentment builds up. When people don't appropriately value the role with arrangements such as remuneration, allocation of resources, authority, lines of reporting, etc, they are highly unlikely to value the advice and input of that person when they are an employee.

    So the cycle is endlessly perpetuated, and we keep seeing high churn rate amongst H&S roles.

    Silence implies consent, and we teach people how to treat us by what we are willing to put up with.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    66
    In addition, I have watched a number of safety practitioners attempt to work as independent contractors, accepting a low hourly rate because they were afraid of missing out.

    What I have observed is that accepting too low an hourly rate can mean people feel they need to take on more contracts to earn enough to make ends meet. They often - probably not consciously - say yes to too many projects and / or work that may be a little outside their own expertise, or a contract they don't really enjoy but "it will pay the bills".

    We are actively engaged in discussions about health and wellbeing alongside conventional safety and risk management practices. To be credible, we need to be LIVING this.

    As a result of taking on work to which they are less than completely committed, safety practitioners go on to provide poor service to their customers - i.e., missed deadlines, poor / reactive communication, incomplete or incorrect advice, etc.

    The recent push to find ways to verify professionalism suggests that safety practitioners are already aware that poor performance by any of us affects the reputation of the profession - i.e., we are all in this together.

    As Albert Einstein advised, the problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    It is vitally important that all safety practitioners work in a professional manner across ALL our work, not just the safety advice part - e.g., conduct appropriate due diligence, only taking on relevant work (and undertaking to coach and lead to get business leaders to look at safety differently), proactive communication, collaboration with others, greater transparency in our dealings (including remuneration - so thank you for this Peter Bateman), developing personal leadership skills and learning habits so we can model the behaviours we want from business leaders.
  • E Baxter
    8
    I would like to see some changes to the salary survey in future
    1. Either get part-timers to enter their FTE salary or have a hourly wage option, then their figures can be included in the tables. This may influence the figures as most likely those in part time positions are female
    2. Add to table 3 median by job title. There is a huge difference in salary between a H&S administrator and a manager.
  • MattD2
    25
    there is a distinct pattern of Officers scrambling to cover their legal risks, offloading many of these responsibilities to safety managers / advisors who are not provided with sufficient authority or resources to do what is needed.Sheri Greenwell

    The irony of this statement is by doing exactly this (pushing it down the chain and washing their hands of the responsibility) they have actually increased their personal risk as, as you say, they then do not provide the business with sufficient resources to manage their risks (which is one of the critical aspects of their due diligence in the first place).
  • Sheri Greenwell
    66
    Exactly.

    All too often they don't want to take the time to understand what their responsibilities really are, and they THINK they can just pass them down, then blame the safety manager / advisor if there is an incident.

    While we know this does not actually absolve the Officers of their responsibilities, the dynamic often results in undue pressure on the safety manager / advisor, who is caught in the middle and afraid of losing their job if they complain about it.
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