Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mind the gap in local and international aid workers' salaries

Mind the gap in local and international aid workers' salaries

April 18, 2016 10.32am AEST
Expatriates are often quick to dismiss dual salary systems as a non-issue. But local workers told us a different story. They said disparities created significant feelings of workplace injustice. They felt less valued than their expatriate colleagues.
Wage disparities are often a taboo topic, especially when power relations are involved. Socially responsive and accountable research like the ADDUP project can “speak truth to power”. This is especially important because differential treatment between international and local aid workers may undermine international aid programs.
Ishbel McWha-Hermann, now based at the University of Edinburgh, who is a co-author of this article, found that the fall-out from pay disparities can damage relationships in the workplace and thereby interfere with aid effectiveness. Employees “form work groups and alliances based on observed differences and similarities”. A likely source of comparison is socioeconomic status linked to salary.
She warns that large pay gaps “may be undermining poverty-reduction initiatives before they even reach the community”.

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