The purpose of this paper is to examine how individuals involved in top pay determination view their role and accountabilities, and capability development needs, theorised under the rubric of professionalisation.
A qualitative research approach draws upon in-depth interviews with non-executive directors serving on remuneration committees (Remcos), institutional investors, their external advisors, and HR reward experts.
Regulation has addressed remuneration committee resourcing implications but has yet to consider the ramifications for implied professionalisation requirements for the independent actors involved. Non-executives’ and institutional investors’ professional engagement is potentially hindered by the capability and capacity required for the activities involved and, for NEDs, the reward attached.
Further research is needed to evaluate professionalisation initiatives by top pay regulators and assess their impact on executive remuneration in practice.
Thorough induction, tailored training, and continuous professional development are crucial to quality executive remuneration decision-taking; organisational and regulatory attention to these issues is required along with widening NED selection and recognition criteria.
This paper provides new knowledge on how top pay decision-takers view their role, the competencies required, and necessary professional development needed to achieve organisational competitive advantage. It reveals a potential dark side to top pay decision-taker professionalisation if individuals repurpose themselves as occupants of part-time executive roles undermining corporate executives.