ARTICLE 19 benchmarks the salary structure of its staff members


What makes this practice exemplary?

In 2013, ARTICLE 19 initiated a review of its salaries, following indications that its pay spine and benefits package was falling short of market value and sector norms, especially in Brazil and other countries. On completion of this review steps were taken to address the significant salary shortfalls and recommendations were made to better align the salary and benefits packages on offer across ARTICLE 19. The Executive Director’s salary was excluded from the benchmarking exercise to simplify discussions with the International Board and ensure the ratio between the highest to lowest salary was closed and not increased.


In July 2014 a second benchmarking exercise was commissioned, initially to be completed for the International Office, with the regional offices following thereafter. The findings and recommendations were presented to the International Board in December 2014 and approval was given to initiate negotiations with staff with a view to implementing the salary increases.


Methodology: Data Collection, Evaluation and Comparison


1. Data Collection

A participatory approach was adopted to identify those organisations that ARTICLE 19 should best compare itself against. Staff members, both directly and via the Staff Union Representatives, members of the Senior Management team (SMT) and members of the Finance & General Purposes Committee (F&GPC), a sub-committee of the International Board, were asked to suggest a list of those organisations that could potentially be used as comparators. Donor organisations were excluded, being neither structured nor funded in a way similar to ARTICLE 19.


The proposed organisations were contacted and a request made for them to share pay spine data, respective job descriptions and any other information relevant to the exercise.


Human Rights Watch declined to share data and was excluded from the exercise.


2. Evaluation

For this stage a comprehensive job evaluation was undertaken for each position, ensuring that internal roles were aligned against best-matching external roles, and not comparing titles against titles. The following were used as markers during the evaluation:


  1. Job Description
  2. Line Management, budgetary & fundraising responsibilities
  3. Position within the organisation


ARTICLE 19 used the Greater London Provincial Council (GLPC) job evaluation scheme, which is an analytical job evaluation scheme in which jobs are broken down into their core components and ‘weighted’ accordingly against other roles. The GLPC scheme is currently used by approximately 250 public sector bodies including local authorities and voluntary organisations.


3. Comparison

As a result of the evaluations outlined above, roles were grouped into the following categories:


  1. Director
  2. Head of Team
  3. Senior Programme Officer/Senior Legal Officer
  4. Programme Office/Legal officer
  5. Programme Assistant


In order to compare the salaries, the average (mid-point) ARTICLE 19 salary for each level was identified, followed by identifying the average salary of each category at the selected organisations in order to have a comparable mid-point.


The total between these two mid-points became the proposed increase for each job category.


Whilst it is often the norm to select a percentile benchmark against which to place salaries (i.e. 70% of the average), ARTICLE 19 set the proposed new pay spine at the maximum percentile to ensure the organisation offers the most competitive salaries possible.


The final stage was to apply the proposed percentage increase to ARTICLE 19’s current pay spine. A midpoint between Step 4 and 5 was selected as the midpoint and was increased by the total percentage applicable. Each step thereafter was increased by an additional 2% and the steps proceeding decremented by 2% accordingly.

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