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Spark hikes up salaries for employees

New Zealand telecommunications firm Spark has released details about its new salary scheme, as the company commits to a ‘higher wage economy’.

The new ‘Spark Pay’ benchmark will see all non-commission based full-time employees earn at least $40,000 salary - plus company benefits to an annual value of $2500.

Front-line commission based roles that earn a lower base salary will have the ability to earn an average of $42,000 - more if they outperform their targets – along with the $2,500 in company benefits, the company explains.

Spark currently employs more than 5000 full- and part-time staff and has an annual payroll bill of about $500 million. 

While Spark says it has always paid above the minimum wage, the new Spark Pay policy has benefited over 250 employees who have received pay increases over the past two years to bring them up to the new level.

Spark general manager of HR Danielle George says Spark has in recent years overhauled its employment practices and has been working towards this solution for a while, to ensure the company attracts the best talent to serve its customers and contributes to a fairer society. 

“We’ve looked at what other companies have done or are doing, but decided our best approach was to talk to our own people, listen to them and figure out what works best for them – and the company,” she says.

“As one of the largest technology employers in New Zealand, we believe it’s vitally important that our people are paid at a level which recognises the complexity of our industry, yet is at a level for us to remain competitive,” George adds.

“We want to do the right thing for our people and to attract the best people to a career in Spark: if that sets a standard that encourages others to follow, that’s got to be a good thing for New Zealand,” she says.

“Our ambition is to make Spark one of the best employers in New Zealand. Average performance isn’t going to get us there: we want our people to be “better than average” and therefore we’ve tried to come up with innovative ways of rewarding, recognising and compensating our people.” 

George says the company has revised its entire value proposition, exploring how it can best deliver base pay and meaningful benefits – all designed to meet the needs of a very diverse workforce. 

“Given the speed of change within our industry, we’ve also done away with cumbersome, drawn out traditional performance appraisals and have moved to a world where we want all our people to have a regular one-on-one meeting with their boss or team leader,” says George.

“It’s radically changed the speed with which we operate, and it’s greatly improved the quality of the discussions we have with our people,” she says.

“This is about being a responsible employer – we will always look to do better, but this is our way of helping transform New Zealand into a higher wage economy.”

George says Spark has already initiated discussions with its suppliers to adopt a similar position within their own industries.

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