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The 2021 five-yearly review completes its course


Formally launched on 1 January 2020, the five-yearly review recently completed its course with the approval by the Council of the proposals put forward by the Management.

This is the culmination of two years of data collection and analysis, consultation with various services across the Organization and in-depth concertation with the Staff Association. The process is designed to ensure that the Organization remains attractive, with financial and social conditions tailored to allow it to recruit and retain talent from across its Member States. It also aims to ensure optimal conditions for its fellows, as well as its many associates, in order to guarantee the continued success of the Lab.

As detailed in the Bulletin article on 13 September, the Management’s proposals were elaborated and presented, following concertation with the Staff Association, to TREF, which conveyed its support for the proposals to the Finance Committee, which in turn recommended them to the Council for final approval. Prior to the presentation to TREF, agreement was reached between the Management and the Staff Association on the proposals regarding maintaining stipends for fellows and subsistence allowances for associated members of the personnel at their current levels. In parallel, a dedicated technical working group was mandated to review the financial resources for associated members of the personnel employed by an external institute; this work is ongoing. Agreement was also reached on the proposal regarding Annex A1, which anticipates keeping the five-yearly review exercise open until June 2022 to permit a review of the procedures set out therein, and to allow any necessary technical updates to be made.

The Management and the Staff Association did not, however, reach a common position on the proposal regarding staff salaries. While the Staff Association argued for a 9% increase in salaries, the Management maintained that the data did not support this: this proposal was therefore submitted to the Director-General for arbitration. In the light of the data from salary surveys performed by the ISRP (OECD) and CERN’s recruitment and retention report, which confirmed the Organization’s continued ability to attract and retain candidates from all its Member States, while acknowledging persistent challenges for some, the Director-General decided to uphold the Management’s proposal to maintain salaries at their current levels. More information indicating that the difficulties arise not from salaries, but rather from the wider perspective of family-related criteria, dual careers, the contract policy and myriad other reasons affecting the decision to take up a position abroad can be found here.

In this vein, the benchmarking study on matters related to diversity and inclusion, which the ISRP (OECD) was mandated in 2020 to carry out in the course of this five-yearly review exercise, provides rich and important data. The Management, in collaboration with the Staff Association, is fully committed to following up on the results to ensure that diversity and inclusion matters are not limited to actions being taken once every five years, but are under continuous review.

In December, the Finance Committee unanimously recommended and the Council unanimously approved the Management’s proposals. Nevertheless, this study highlighted the need for continued efforts to increase recruitment from underrepresented Member States, in line with the Director-General’s strategic objectives. Hiring a diverse, representative workforce is key to CERN’s continued success; to that end, dedicated efforts are under way to ensure that we attract a diverse talent pool, with due commitment to the international character of the Organization. The Graduate Programme Review, currently under development, will also play an important role in attracting bright graduates to CERN by ensuring competitive employment conditions, and this in turn will help create a diverse pipeline for our staff contingent of the future. Further, the launch this year of the Diversity and Inclusion programme’s 25 by ’25 strategy, which is the first ever target-based strategy to boost gender and nationality diversity within the staff and fellows population, is timely and will foster a culture of awareness throughout the Organization and a proactive approach to achieving the objectives collectively.

CERN is a unique organisation, and the rich discussions that have taken place and concerns that have been raised throughout this five-yearly review process underline our common goal of fostering its international and vibrant community so that we can continue to deliver on our mission: science for the benefit of all.