Webinar organized by Manageritalia

Article by Claudia Paoletti | Managing Partner Kilpatrick

On 15 July 2020, our Managing Director Cristina Spagna had the honor to participate in an interesting webinar organized by Manageritalia entitled: Manager – Salary in transformation.

The webinar was moderated by Enrico Pedretti, Manageritalia Marketing Director and was attended by Massimo Fiaschi, General Secretary of Manageritalia, Alessandro Fiorelli, CEO of JobValue and JobPricing, Luigi Torlai Project Leader International Recruitment of AUDI Germany, as well as Cristina Spagna and Luca Villa Human Resources Director Acciai Speciali Terni / Country HR Leader Thyssenkrupp.

The interesting discussion developed around the topic of managers ‘and middle managers’ salaries. Panelists were asked if the covid-19 emergency and what followed (and will follow) will leave us with a certain crisis and/or if we will have lower wages or just structured differently.

Alessandro Fiorelli CEO of JobValue and JobPricing presented a photograph of the current situation. We are coming in fact from 5 negative years of a flat trend with wages that have penalized Italian executives who are paid less than the rest of the world. Employment is falling, there has been and still is a strong focus on costs and we are going in the direction of a greater focus on the merit that requires a different composition of the remuneration packages, heavier on the variable in relation to performance and with more attention to retention tools and intangible elements. More and more it is necessary to give personalized answers to employees.

Cristina Spagna agrees with the greater package customization. Benefits and welfare items are increasingly appearing in the variable part of the executive or middle manager’s remuneration, which become an integral part of the remuneration packages. On the other hand, Spagna underlines that not all sectors and not all markets have entered into crisis but that the covid-19, in any case, has given the push to change and to the digital transformation by requiring a review of the processes and greater attention to measurement of individual and collective goals.

From the Headhunter’s point of view, the covid-19 has changed the paradigms of search and selection with the need to undertake completely virtual selection paths. Technology has played its part and artificial intelligence has entered the selection processes also in the evaluation of people’s feelings. Many entrepreneurs have finally shown themselves open to change and are proving ready to review corporate governance more based on KPIs and opening themselves to attracting talent from outside as well. In short, the health emergency has certainly brought about a big change of approach by many companies and those who are rewarded are the people who, during this period, have been able to make a difference by demonstrating audacity and resilience.

Fiaschi underlines the commitment of Manageritalia which, in this difficult period, has assisted many Executives who have seen their wages cut by 20, 50 and, in some particularly dramatic situations, even by 100% due to the impossibility of activating layoffs. It was certainly an act of generosity aimed at managing the critical moment and helping companies in cashflow crisis.

Torlai, in his speech, also described a faster and more fluid market and shares the thought that remuneration is moving more and more towards the variable part. Companies want to reward merit rather than seniority and there is the undergoing trend that the boundary line between the employee and the consultant work relationship is increasingly subtle. The covid-19 emergency is diluting this border which previously was much clearer. Torlai also, working based in Germany, has a privileged international observatory and believes that, to date, in Italy much weight has been given to fixed and status rather than to the variable part. Things are also changing according to him and one of the best practices that we should learn and import from abroad is the approach by which training should be considered part of the welfare package.

Luca Villa adds that we are also going towards a job relocation and that smartworking allows you to operate from different locations in the same country or, even in some cases, in different continents. We never thought, just a few months ago, that companies would have digest this type of remote work approach. Everything happened quickly and this aspect on which we had been working for years, was adopted in our culture more easily than expected.

We are moving towards a greater interchangeability of people and Villa believes that, after a blockade of the labor market for a few months, we will have a more fluid period in 2021 which will require activating retention policies for the best talents. In fact, young people are less tied to safe work, for them there is no fixed life position and work life balance is important. They will therefore be ready to change and move on to the market. They remain available to make sacrifices but then feel the need to rebalance everything.

Finally, the actors also discussed the role of national contracts and unions regarding the issue of the composition of wages. Everyone agreed that it is certainly easier to attract people in Italy than abroad because there are clear and structured rules.

The speakers also agreed and said that unions must work together with employees and entrepreneurs in this difficult period with productivity as their mission. In some foreign countries unions have officially declared that they do not request increases for their clients for the next year, demonstrating that they want to support companies in a constructive way to bring them out of this heavy situation. A partnership is needed to make the two sides of the labor market work well and the speakers have been clear in asking for unions open to constructive confrontation.

As you can see, the topics covered were many and each actor made an excellent contribution to the discussion. Thanks to Manageritalia for this interesting opportunity. An open and transparent chat between managers is always of great interest.

To view the webinar (in Italian) click here.