This report investigates the role of pay as reward or recognition for different kinds of work, skills and outcomes. Drawing on polling and extensive qualitative research, it considers how the functioning of pay is currently perceived and what the appropriate foundations for improvement might be.

Widespread outrage about bankers' bonuses and excessive executive pay has fuelled a deep sense of injustice about apparent 'rewards for failure'. At the same time, many millions of people across the UK do not appear to get their fair share of the pay bill despite working hard and doing their job well.

The research findings presented in this report demonstrate a sense of injustice among many people about the way pay currently functions, even among some very high earners. The key source of concern hinges on the extent to which pay at all levels is a fair reward for the contribution made to an organisation's success, with an emphasis on responsibility, performance, skill and effort as the essential elements of that contribution. The research presented here demonstrates a sense that the contribution of high earners is often overplayed while the contribution of the average worker is undervalued.

Download full results of the YouGov poll which is used extensively in this report.