Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005
Why we're underpaid (part 3241)  
Treasury has posted papers from the 2005 Budget on its website. The papers include Treasury briefing papers on Budget bilaterals, which are discussions between individual Ministers and the Minister of Finance, where the Ministers seek approval for funding for their projects. The National Library (PDF) bilateral paper includes a request for a staff salary increase. This is Treasury's response:

"Treasury does not support this initiative as we do not consider that there is evidence for of significant declines in outputs associated with not funding the bid. In the last budget it was agreed National Library receive $0.961 p.a. for the purpose of staff salary increases. There does not yet exist any evidence of declines in staff morale or increases in staff turnover that typically support funding such a proposal."

There you have it. We just need to start quitting our jobs more often, and complaining about how badly we are treated, and we'd be in line for big pay rises. What's worse, the National Library's Statement of Intent (PDF) says that one of the risks facing the organisation is an aging workforce and low turnover. So the fact that staff aren't leaving is a double whammy, a risk for the organisation and a reason for staff to be paid less.

Fortunately, the salary bid was approved (Cabinet minute, PDF). National Library's 385 staff can share an increase of $1.4 million. That works out at an average of a bit over $3000, so it's not too bad for someone at the lower-end of the scale (assuming that it was shared evenly, which it won't be anyway). But hardly enough to attract new talent. I'd quite like to work at the National Library at some point - but even at this stage in my career, I would have to take a pay cut to do so - unless I went straight into a team leader or manager position. There's something not quite right there.