Comp Study Says Companies Are Expecting Good Things in 2014

PayScale has just released its 2014 Compensation Best Practices Report, and I was asked to take a look because (full disclosure) PayScale is a client.

Regardless, I was happy to check the report out seeing as (1) the graphics are pretty; and, (2) it’s crammed full of useful information about business trends.

The report contains input from 4,738 professionals, including 1033 CFOs, and some of the data surprised me. Such as:

  • Some 40 percent of companies are in favor of passing the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Thirty percent are against the proposal, and another 30 percent are unsure. Given what I’ve read elsewhere, I didn’t think anyone in the business community approved this proposal, but I’m happy to be wrong. And no, I don’t want to spend $15-$20 more per meal at a fast food joint, but come on — the powers that be will discover a way to manufacture a tasty burger thing out of sawdust before that happens
  • More than half (55 percent) of companies have formal social media policies, and of that group, 33 percent don’t allow the use of social media at all. (Really employer? That ship has sooooo sailed. Give it up already.)
  • Previous work experience is the leading factor that impacts hiring decisions (40 percent), with skill set not far behind (31 percent). (Ah hah! So employers are finally admitting out loud that hiring decisions are based on 29 percent of intangibles — that’s how I’m reading this, anyhow.)

88% say they are giving raises this year

And then there were the things that didn’t surprise me, such as:

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  • Some 57 percent of companies cite employee retention as a “main concern.” (Yes, but you keep allowing crappy managers to drive people out. Why is that??)
  • Half (50 percent) of companies say they’re having a difficult time filling skilled positions (blah, blah, blah) with jobs in IT and management being the most problematic. (Actually, the bit about management did surprise me.)
  • A whopping 88 percent of companies say they plan to give pay raises in 2014, with 77 percent anticipating the average raise will be up to (read, way less than) 10 percent.

Is pay why people look for a new job?

And finally were those things I thought were just interesting:

  • When asked about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on staffing in 2014, 84 percent of companies said they expected no impact, 5 percent said they’d be cutting back on hours, and 8 percent said they’d be hiring fewer full-time workers. With all the brouhaha in the media about business opposition to the ACA, I’d have expected that 84 percent to be a lot lower.
  • Some 79 percent of respondents agree that higher pay is not the main reason people begin looking for a new job, but the chance to earn more was reported as one of the top two reasons people leave a job. (Listen, I don’t care if survey respondents list pay as No. 25 on a list of 25 Top Reasons to Leave a Job, because people like to lie about money. The truth is, pay matters all day long and twice as much on Sunday — especially if you tithe.)
  • Companies are largely optimistic about the future, and 72 percent expect their financial situation to improve in 2014.

Cool. I hope it happens. Like, yesterday.

Crystal Spraggins, SPHR, is an HR consultant and freelance writer who lives in Philadelphia. She also writes at her blog, HR BlogVOCATE. For the past 15 years, Crystal has focused on building HR departments in small- to mid-sized companies under the philosophy that "HR is not for wimps." She is also the CEO and Founder of Work It Out! and partners with HRCVision, a full-service HR consultant practice specializing in leadership and diversity training. Contact her at crs036@aim.com.

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