The Pay Index features on The Good Web Guide

4/25/2018 The Pay Index

How much should you be paid? Exciting startup The Pay Index crowdsources and compares executive pay, as featured on The Good Web Guide


How much should you get paid? What should a business offer? Understanding executive compensation is a minefield. Nobody knows who gets paid what, how he or she compares to peers and that’s before you contemplate the gender pay gap. 

In February 2018 James Rust launched The Pay Index, a site that crowdsources senior executive management data anonymously. The platform allows you to benchmark yourself to peers against different job titles, functions, industries and geographies for free, both locally and internationally. ‘Clients can access this data to help them with compensation with new and existing hires, as well as understanding the gender pay gap,’ says James. ‘They can also utilise cost of living and exchange rate data when moving people around the world. This data can then be used by corporates to accurately gauge how they pay their existing, or new senior management. It also allows them to examine the gender pay gap, and help them with staff relocation; something that is bound to be topical bearing in mind Brexit.’ Here James fills in the detail...

I came up with the idea when… Most of the senior people I met during my time as an Executive Recruiter did not have anywhere where they could see how much they should be paid; unless they move companies, it is really tricky for them to work out if they are under, or overpaid! We realised that our network, combined with our market knowledge gave us a unique insight into executive compensation and if we could find a way to leverage this into some form of product, it could be hugely beneficial to our clients, as well as individuals. We were also keen to harness the strength of our international business coverage, especially as our search practice is assisting an increasing number of senior executives to relocate around the world.

As such, we became focused on building a tool that would help individuals with their decision making, as well as highlighting current issues that impact compensation such as the gender pay gap. 

If we built a product that could enable senior execs to share their data safely and anonymously, they could then accurately compare themselves to their peer group, both locally and overseas… but not just a boring static report that’s emailed to, but through a really cool series of reports that were fully interactive and populated via the live database!

The biggest challenge is… building the database around the world. We already have a sizeable database for the US and the UK, and from 30 odd countries, but want to repeat this across the world.

The average day is spent… coming in each morning and immediately opening up our SQL database and Google Analytics account to see how many new registrations we’ve received overnight. It’s great when we see a registration from a new city or country. Then we check to see what new potential client leads are requesting demos of the corporate system. Getting their feedback is great too. It gives you a real buzz that we have built a platform that is genuinely useful.

The team consists of... I am lucky to have the support of my fellow partners who run our wider human capital consultancy. We have been in business together for nearly 20 years, and we trust each other to get on and do our respective jobs. On a daily basis, I am working closely with our head of marketing, our head of data, and our technical / developer parties, who have helped us build the product.

My favourite quote… It is probably a combination of two quotes, just to be awkward: “The most difficult decision is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Followed by “Enjoy the journey”. Not particularly original but I think it’s easy to maintain status quo and do nothing – having an idea and following up on it is much more exciting.

I am where I am today because of… I was extremely lucky to come across my fellow founding partners of Leathwaite nearly 25 years ago. We started Leathwaite 19 years ago, and still enjoy working closely with each other. Over time we have evolved and now look after different aspects of the company. Luckily, I am able to focus on researching, building and implementing new business lines, such as The Pay Index.

I am who I am because of.... a mixture of my parents who taught me to be independent and self-sufficient in my thoughts, and my deeds; and my wife, who has focused on home so that I can focus on building the business – a real partnership. 

The best advice I've been given... Never give up. It’s easy to give up, far harder to keep going. I once ran 84 miles over Hadrian’s Wall with some friends, and although it was thoroughly exhausting, it was such a great challenge to complete. It would have been easy to give up in the training stages, or when the weather was properly awful, but what a goal to complete.

In five years I’d like to be… known for creating and establishing the number one source for global senior management executive compensation. This is a massive challenge as we want this to be a global tool so we need users from all over the world. However, this is the goal that drives us each day.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... it’s not easy! I love the concept of being open to everyone, but getting your name in front of everyone is not easy.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… you’ve got to get all the team on board with the product. We once tried to launch a product without buy in from senior management, and we didn’t do enough research to convince them. If we cannot convince our own team, how do we expect to convince others who don’t know us to use a product? So this time round, our market research and customer feedback has been much more thorough!

What apps do you use to be more productive? I use the notes app on my Mac, and for meeting customers on line, my choice is for screen sharing etc. I find Zoom more stable than other offerings.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date… selling our first corporate license to a client in Singapore. When she bought this first license, it proved the concept and gave our small team such a boost!

The websites I most frequently use are... LinkedIn is used daily, as is BBC news. Then it would be websites focused more on personal interests, which are eclectic to say the least.

The podcasts I like to listen to are... on my iPhone the podcasts I listen to are Tech Tent,Freakonomics, and Friday Night Comedy. Quite a diverse mixture of comedy and current affairs mixed in with tech innovation.


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