Carney May Have to Fight to Keep Top BOE Staff, Survey Shows

  • Just one-third of senior managers plan to stay beyond 5 years
  • Long-term issues of pay, engagement continue to rankle staff

For a man who prides himself on his people management skills, Mark Carney may have his work cut out at the Bank of England.

According to a survey by the central bank, just one third of senior managers intend to stay beyond five years. Staff turnover has long been an issue at the London-based institution, which has previously warned the challenge of keeping experienced employees poses a risk to implementing policy.

The report by management consultants Hay Group showed pay and staff engagement -- areas that have already been overhauled -- were among the factors that rankle workers most. The BOE has previously lost staff pursuing more lucrative careers in London’s financial district and Governor Carney in 2014 said retention of talent was one of his core initiatives.

Carney has also previously extolled his virtues in leadership, telling U.K. lawmakers at his appointment hearing in 2013 that he knows “how to lead, when to delegate and how to forge consensus.”

“I have a track record of attracting and retaining senior external talent to public life including leading academics, several managing directors from the financial sector and senior IMF staff,” he said of his time as governor of the Bank of Canada.

Efficiency Gauge

While the latest study also noted areas of strength, it revealed that high levels of pride and job satisfaction among staff are offset by relatively low motivation and hindrances people need to tackle to get their job done. The survey was published by the BOE on Tuesday after a Freedom of Information request by Bloomberg News.

“The survey reveals clear impediments to people’s effectiveness, with fewer than half agreeing that their work environment enables them to be as efficient and productive as they otherwise could be,” the authors of the report said.

Out of the 118 senior managers who took part in the survey, either executive directors, directors or heads of division, just 32 percent said they intend to stay at least five years. When it came to executive directors, 25 percent said they were planning still be there after that period.

“The levels of discretionary effort people are willing to apply to their work are relatively low and reflect some of the challenges and limitation” noted by staff, it said. “This also presents a potential risk in the retention of talent.”

Wide Disparity

The survey also revealed a wide disparity among staff about the BOE’s strategy. Those in the bank less than a year are most positive, while those of a longer tenure -- more than 10 years -- are the least happy. It noted an “anxiety amongst longer serving employees” about the bank’s long-term direction. The survey covered 3,031 employees -- about 82 percent of staff -- between May 13 and June 3.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.