22 Sep 16 28 Apr 20

Senior executive salaries

The highest salary in MSF UK is paid to our executive director, Vickie Hawkins.

Vickie is eligible for an annual salary of £86,656.47 (as of April 2020). There are no additional bonuses or performance-related additional payments.

This amount excludes pension contributions by MSF, which total 10 percent of the gross salary. 

Doesn’t MSF UK have a 3:1 ratio between highest and lowest salaries?

MSF UK has traditionally paid the most senior member of staff, usually the Executive Director, no more than three times the pay of the lowest paid UK-based staff member. 

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However, in 2014 the MSF UK board decided to hold a long-overdue review of pay grades and benefits for all UK-based staff, and as part of that review the board reviewed its policy on setting the Executive Director’s pay.

The board decided in future to treat the 3:1 ratio as a guide rather than a rule in order to avoid a possible tension between either underpaying the Executive Director compared to equivalent roles, or being forced to pay more for junior roles than is appropriate. 

For the record, the director’s current salary of £86,656.47 is 3.4 times the lowest current MSF UK salary of £25,832.23.

How did the board set the Executive Director’s salary?

In considering the Executive Director’s new salary, the Board observed that a gap had opened up between what MSF UK was previously paying and what other parts of the MSF movement and London-based NGOs were paying their Chief Executives.

In setting the Executive Director’s new salary, the Board sought to set the salary at a level that was broadly competitive yet still modest, in keeping with MSF’s focus on maximising the use of funds for frontline work.

Exactly which factors were considered before the pay was set?

  • Salaries for comparable roles across MSF movement
  • Salaries of Chief Executives and Directors of similar-sized UK, London-based NGOs (based on voluntary sector salary surveys: XpertHR, Croner Reward)
  • Pay ratio between the Executive Director and other MSF UK office staff
  • Annual percentage salary increase given to other MSF UK office staff

When will the director’s salary be reviewed?

The Executive Director’s salary will be reviewed in spring 2021 in line with the rest of the UK office.

Although the Board now uses the 3:1 ratio as a guide rather than a rigid limit, they will continue to ensure that the director’s salary remains modest yet sufficient to attract and retain the best candidate, and is published on our website.

What about other senior managers in the UK?

In 2019 MSF UK had seven senior managers in the £60k-70k salary range, depending on their seniority and experience; two senior managers were paid between £70k-80k.

How much does MSF pay top executives elsewhere in the world?

We publish the highest and lowest salaries for all MSF offices worldwide as part of our commitment to transparency in financial reporting. The most recent data available (2018) is on page 37 of this document.