Small Towns Vs. Big Cities

Where will you make the most money? Suffice to say that strong emotions are mixed into the pound demands of most executives who move from small Midwestern, Southern, or Western cities to high-cost, high-compression areas such as London, Reading, and Leeds. London, especially, needs hard selling, and it often takes what looks like a bribe to get some moves underway.

A normal pay boost, of say, 20% in a company-to-company job change jumps to 30% or more if the new manager is being asked to pull up stakes in a small and relatively serene place in favour of crowded big-city living. And going in reverse a move from, say, London to Denver, for example - might result in a small pay boost, maybe just 5% or maybe none at all. The pure cost-of-living must, of course, be figured, and made a part of any regional job-change deal. Based on the latest Bureau of Labour Statistics figures, a week's groceries that cost £100 in Milwaukee or Seattle, would run about £125 in London. Your pay package should reflect this sort of difference. It should also reflect such regional cost differences as these:

If you spent £1,000 on family medical bills in Buffalo last year, the same kind of treatment would cost you £1,112 in the London City area - or only £980 in San Diego.

If you spent £400 a month on housing in Cleveland, figure on an absolute minimum of £450 anywhere in the London Metropolitan area - or just £405 in Manchester.

But the actual cost-of-living pounds are only part of it. "More than high prices," says John Struggles, of the Reading recruiting firm, Heidrick & Struggles, "today's executive wants to avoid long, uncomfortable commuting, crowded living, and hard social conditions, especially for his children. Places like London are actually feared." Kansas City recruiter William Beeson adds: "I get letters from executives who seem desperate to get to a small place regardless of the pound." The experts'

advice: In moving from a small place to a high-cost, crowded city, push hard for a solid 30% boost in pay. Today, they say, this sort of attitude is expected.

Hearing, And The Available Aids

If It's Phoney, It Probably Won't Work.

Newest rewards in executive pay

If you make it up that ladder - what should you be getting for the effort?

The stock market remains uncertain and inflation is a long-term problem, so stock options, deferred pay, and many of the other goodies that have been used to reward executives since the 2000s are taking a back seat these days. Cash - or something that can quickly be turned to cash - is what counts most in the executive compensation package. Extra compensation that is tied directly to performance also is coming on strong, for middle managers as well as for the top brass. "Next to cash on the line," says David Thomsen, a compensation specialist with Dart Industries, "I go for... see: If It's Phoney, It Probably Won't Work.