Case study: Natural History Museum

A new payment system to reward experience & performance

Natural History Museum


The Natural History Museum in London is a world-class visitor attraction and research centre that welcomes over 5 million visitors a year. With over 850 staff, their collective goal is to encourage curiosity and enjoyment of the natural world, and inspire responsibility for the future of the planet.

The challenge was to develop a new job evaluation system, for the majority of staff, in order to support a new pay and grading system. The existing systems had lost control of internal equity, had no link to market, and provided no means for progression or ability to reward performance. There was also a need to reduce the number of equal pay claims starting to arise.

Insight & Approach

The solution needed to address the range of different scientific and technical roles and their different pay and career management needs.

Interventions included:

  • Developing a new job family pay structure with levels linked to contribution.
  • Developing a new evaluation mechanism using a bespoke classification approach.
  • Working with the HR team to implement the new system
  • Providing expert advice on job evaluation appeals.


The impact of our work was reported in the Incomes Data Services (IDS) Pay Report 1037, an independent research body that provides research and analysis on pay and benefits in the UK.

The report, “National Museum replaces broad bands” details our work on replacing broad pay bands with job families that more closely met the expectations of staff for real pay progression. In addition to “meeting the needs of the Museum for controlling and reducing pay bill costs…achieved by introducing, over time, stronger pay progression links to performance”.

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