5-Yearly Review

All organisations need to periodically assess whether the conditions they provide correspond to their needs.

The framework applicable to IGO’s is based on general principles of law and the case law of international administrative tribunals.

At CERN, this framework is described in Annex A1 of the Staff Rules and Regulations


Staff members

Attract, recruit and retain highest level of competence and integrity required for the execution of CERN mission from all Member States.


attractive conditions
(vs comparable institutions)

MPAs (students, associates…)

Sufficient subsistence for
cost-of-living in local region

  • Diverse population
  • Open to interpretation

Process Overview

  • Provide data on recruitment and retention
  • Identify CERN’s main recruitment markets
  • Identify relevant comparator institutions
  • Agree on scope
  • Collect data
  • Analyse data
  • Discuss with internal stakeholders (Departments, Staff Association)
  • Draw up Management’s proposals


  • Discuss Management’s proposals at TREF
  • Submit proposals to FC & Council for decision

Financial and social conditions to review


  • Basic salaries for staff members

  • Stipends for Fellows

  • Subsistence indemnities for associated members of the personnel


  • All other financial and social conditions (Council decision on Management’s proposal)


Reminder : Optional conditions chosen for 2005 5YR 

  • Career structure
  • CHIS 
  • Family policy
    • Family and Child Allowances
    • Crèche Facilities
    • Family-related Leave
    • Education Fees
  • Societal evolution: recognition of partnerships
  • Restructuring of support for integration and reintegration
    • Replacement of non-resident allowance by International Indemnity
    • Benefits on arrival and departure
  • 5YR method

Reminder: Optional conditions chosen for 2010 5YR

  • CHIS (Benefits & Contribution rates)
  • 5YR method

Optional conditions chosen for 2015 5YR

  • CERN career structure
  • Diversity-related conditions
  • 5YR method (if deemed necessary at the end of the review)

CERN career structure


  • Continuous improvement of a key HR process impacting all staff members
  • Several weaknesses identified
  • Supervisors find current process too resource intensive
  • Majority opinion of staff members on current process is at best neutral
  • Opportunity to change every 5 years only (as part of 5YR)
  • Current Career Path Structure / Salary Grid is the result of 25 years of evolution 
    • High number of Career Paths (8 CP), Salary Bands (29 SB) & steps (599)
    • Midpoint progression between SBs/CPs is low, making promotions sometimes meaningless
    • Existence of ECE, but barely used
    • Very different levels of functions paid the same: Overlap between CPs is high, SB spread is diverse, with some SBs very long
  • Recruitment market and education landscape is changing
    • Bologna aligned diploma levels throughout Europe
    • In a competitive job market “(war for talent”) the value of diplomas remains important, but more and more value is placed on experience and competencies 
    • CERN’s CP structure and salary grid is mainly driven by diplomas and does not always allow us to be a savvy player on the job market
  • Current Promotions Practice and Meaning not always clear
    • Guidelines not always clear
    • Promotions sometimes not meaningful
    • Promotions sometimes based on add-ons, rather than real change of job


Risk of CERN's budget not being optimally used

Opportunity to simplify, rationalise and modernise

Diversity-related social and financial conditions

  • Registered partnerships:
    • Opposite-sex and same-sex partnerships of staff members and fellows currently recognized by the Organization, but benefits limited to health insurance coverage.
    • Possible recognition by the Organization of further rights to partners: CERN should move with the times and examine the extent to which it should follow societal developments in the Member States.
  • Other areas related to diversity:
    • Support structures for new parents and families 
    • Family-friendly structures
    • Spouse/ partner employment 
    • Balance between professional and private life

Basic salaries for staff members

  • All career paths:
    Based on the identification of CERN’s main recruitment market, data will be collected from the private sector and, more precisely from the high technology sector 
  • CP AA to B (local survey):
    data will be collected from employers in the local region (Geneva, Vaud and neighbouring France) that offer salaries among the most competitive. The data collection will be entrusted to a local salary survey company.
  • CP C to G (international survey):
    data will be collected from employers in the Member States that offer the most competitive salaries. The data collection will be entrusted to the OECD.

Salary comparison – Apples to Apples

  • Salary components
    • Total cash remuneration: Only: base salary + actual variable cash pay (annual basis)
    • Not: Company cars, stock options, long-term incentive plans…
  • Net income
    • Taxation rules of the selected country(ies) are applied
  • Cost of living
    • Purchasing Power Parities (PPP) are applied in order to identify equivalent purchasing power, irrespective of the place of employment.

Stipends for Fellows

In line with the two previous five-yearly reviews, data will be collected from the following research institutions :
  • ESO
  • DESY
  • EMBL
  • ESA
  • European Comission

By the nature of their fellowship programmes, and given that, like CERN, they also benefit from external financing mechanisms, these institutions indeed constitute appropriate comparator institutions in this context. 


Subsistence Allowances for Associated Members of the Personnel (MPA)

Data collection limited to an analysis by CERN of the evolution of the cost-of-living in the Geneva area.

Diversity-related Conditions

Data will be collected by the OECD from the following IGO’s:




  • a major endeavor
  • a “collision” of diverse ideas, expectations and interests
  • an opportunity to take stock of where we are, exchange, discuss, modernise & prepare CERN for the future


Updated on: 18/02/2015