Three of the industry’s most high-profile consultants, Davis Langdon, Cyril Sweett and Gardiner & Theobald, are making plans to cut salaries as the sector continues to battle the recession

Davis Langdon launched a formal consultation onTuesday which could see staff benefits – including salaries and pension contributions – reduced by up to 14%.

Senior partner Rob Smith said the firm was “re-engineering” its service to respond to changing client needs and reduce its cost base, but added that the impact on pay could be short-term.

He said: “The adjustment of salary and benefit costs will form part of the strategy and will total about 14% of benefits packages.

“However, achieving the targets set for the business over the coming year will create the opportunity to start repaying any such adjustments, although the scope and speed of this will obviously be dependent upon the state of the economy, and the industry, at the time.”

Achieving targets in the coming year will create the chance to repay any adjustments

Rob Smith, Davis Langdon

Gardiner & Theobald is also consulting on pay reductions. Senior partner Tony Burton said staff had been asked to consider a voluntary cut of up to 20% for the most senior staff. The average cut would be 12%, and staff on the lowest pay grades would not be affected, he said. He said shorter hours and longer holidays were “part of the discussion”, but no concrete decisions had been made.

Rival firm Cyril Sweett also sent a letter to employees this week detailing plans to reduce pay. Staff have been told that their salaries will be cut by an average of 8-10%.

The consultations are the latest in a string of moves to reduce overheads in the sector. Gleeds is negotiating with staff over salary reductions of up to 12.5% and, in February, Currie & Brown said board members would take a 25% cut.

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