AUSTIN, Bertram Herbert



30th April 1896 to 14th March 1966

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Biographical Text

Austin was a consultant and writer who wrote several books on industrial efficiency.

Austen was born in the London suburb of Putney on 30 April 1896. He was educated at Childerley Central School at Fulham, and then joined the British army at the outbreak of the First World War. He served first with the Royal Field Artillery as a junior officer, and then at British army headquarters in France before transferring to the Royal Pay Corps, rising to the rank of major. For his wartime service he was awarded an MBE and also received the Croix de Guerre from the French government.

Following the war Austen attended Peterhouse College, Cambridge, receiving a BA in 1921 and an MA in 1926. He married Irene Mond, daughter of the chemist Robert Mond and niece of the industrialist Alfred Mond, founder of the company that later became Imperial Chemical Industries, in 1922; they divorced nine years later. Austen died on 14 March 1966.

In partnership with Francis Lloyd, Austen wrote two highly regarded books, The Secret of High Wages and Capital for Labour. The former, published in the year of his Rowntree lecture, argued that efficient firms pay higher wages because this allows them to attract a better calibre of employee, which in turn leads to greater efficiency. The authors illustrate their case with examples from America.


Ansell, E., Admissions to Peterhouse, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956, p. 46.

Burke's Peerage,


“AUSTIN, Bertram Herbert,” The Rowntree Business Lectures and the Interwar British Management Movement, accessed January 19, 2021,