The practice manager salary survey for 2016 has shown a continued annual pay decrease and a gender pay gap of over 10%.
First Practice Management, an advisory service for practice managers (PMs), has conducted the annual survey since 2004. This year had an increase in responses and included questions focusing on the pay gap between men and women.
The average salary in the UK for practice managers, practice business managers, and operations managers is £37,323 – a consistent reduction in the average salary from 2014. It has fallen by 2.57% on 2015’s figure (£38,306) and 4.85% from 2014’s average salary of £39,225 per annum.
Male PMs earned on average £42,636 last year, whereas female managers earned £38,421. That is a difference of 9.89%.
The survey, which had over 1,520 responses and ran from 14 September to 26 October 2016, focused on the income received between 1April 2015 and 31March 2016. It also looked at the salaries of assistant practice managers, operations managers, and practice business managers.
Participants included 202 of 210 CCGs in England, all health boards in Scotland, Wales, and four out of five health and social care boards in Northern Ireland.
This year’s average salaries showed a 2.57% decrease when compared with 2015’s highest salary figure of £38,306.43.
The UK’s actual lowest salary figure was £17,363 in South England while the highest salary figure reported was £81,000 in London, both for non-partner practice managers.
Nearly half of all PMs reported working overtime. 38.68% (521 PMs) worked between one and five hours overtime each week while 7.94% (107 PMs) worked between 10-15 hours overtime. 3.12% of participants (42 PMs) worked 30 hours or more overtime.
Survey participants commented that they are feeling low morale due to increased workload and decreased pay. 31.5% attributed low motivation to “lack of recognition” by partners.
One anonymous manager said: “Workload has increased massively with no recognition of this by Partners, CCG and NHSE. Next crisis will definitely be in Practice Management.”
Another said: “Having not received any increment for eight years I feel that I deserve a decent pay award. This year is pivotal and if there is no significant pay increment I will be looking in a new direction.”
Almost half, 44.5%, said that they did not consider their pay to be proportionate to the workload.
Many suggested that a national body for practice managers should be established with responsibility for setting an appropriate salary.
“There is need for a national body to support PMs and have a clear framework for the job role and salary structure,” one PM said.
“Although there was an initiative in the late 2000’s to put forward a grading system for practice managers, unfortunately this was not adopted locally or nationally, so there continues to be huge discrepancies which bear little relation to the quality of management provided,” another said.