Thursday, March 25, 2010

The big lie from Wall Street and the Automakers regarding compensation has always been,If you cut our salaries, our talent will leave and the firm's value will take a substantial hit. I have always maintained this was a big lie, with no basis in fact for the following reasons:
  • Talent is overrated- if one is truly superstar talent, people will knock on your door and try to poach you regardless of the economy
  • Talent is in abundance-there are more talented people without jobs who sit in Starbucks all day than people who are employed.
  • The unemployed talent would love to take your job for less money.
  • Executives under pay scrutiny have basically two options- take a haircut in pay or start your own firm. Option 2 costs money which most don't have

Today's NY Times confirms this big lie. Here are some excerpts:

“For months, Wall Street banks and the troubled automakers feverishly protested that their top executives would flee if they were not lavishly rewarded for their talents. New data, however, suggests the departures were more of a trickle than a flood.

Of the 104 senior executives whose pay was set by the federal pay regulator in the last two years, 88 executives, or nearly 85 percent, are still with the companies even though their pay was drastically cut back, according to people briefed on the government data.

The relative stability, at least within the executive suite, suggests that a soft job market, corporate loyalty and personal pride helped deter the feared management exodus at the companies hardest hit by the pay rules.”