Met Office: Moving to flexible roles and contribution-based pay

The Met Office is one of only a few central government organisations to move away from traditional civil service pay and grading structures based on job descriptions and time-served annual pay increments towards arrangements that better reflect individuals’ contribution. Over the past two years, it has introduced flexible, skills-based roles and market-based salary levels with contribution-based pay progression:

  • Reward is based on role and contribution, and on changing the emphasis in pay setting from past behaviours and time served to current contribution and the application of skills/capability.

  • Reward is closely linked to business performance, individual contribution, achievement and the external job market.

  • The focus is on delivery, service, leadership, management and skills development, in a way that aligns the reward strategy with shifting business priorities.

  • Career progression is clarified with the aid of skills frameworks and careers champions in each professional area.

This e-reward case study examines the drivers for change and the development and implementation of new skills-based roles and reward. It also examines how the Met Office plans to bed down this new structure in the context of public sector pay restraint.

Organisation profile

Name: Met Office.

Employees: 1,900 around the world.

Business activities: The Met Office is the UK’s national weather service, with a long history of weather forecasting and two decades of more recent activity in the area of climate change. It is a trading fund within the Ministry of Defence (MOD), operating on a commercial basis under set targets, determined by a Met Office Owner’s Council, chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Defence.

Trade union: Prospect operates within the Met Office on a single-table basis with a “significant level” of staff membership.

Main location: Exeter.


Organisation profile

Moving away from centrally-determined arrangements
Business drivers
Goals and objectives
Performance management and bonuses
Behaviours and values
Single performance rating
Bonus menu
Defining roles and skills
Skills framework
Market-based pay
Contribution-based progression
Pay assimilation
Public sector pay restraint and other challenges

1: Document extract – Met Office people strategy
2: Performance matrix
3: Document extract – Met Office behaviours
4: Bonuses and recognition awards
5: Progression in role