Keeping Compensation Fresh in 2019

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By: Joanne Sammer for SHRM

With the U.S. unemployment rate at its lowest level since 1969, employers are adjusting pay-raise budgets for 2019 and raising their wage and salary offers to attract needed talent.

After several years of pay increases below 3 percent on average, pay levels for hourly workersincreased by 3.1 percent in 2018, as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show. But signs indicate a bigger jump in wages and salaries for 2019 will outpace employers’ earlier expectations.

Data released in mid-December by HR consultancy Mercer show that employers anticipate U.S. private-sector salaries for 2019, including merit and promotion-related pay increases, will rise by 3.4 percent over 2018 pay, according to the consultancy’s compensation database, which reflects pay practices for more than 16 million employees. That’s up from the 3.2 percent year-over-year pay increase that employers expected just a few weeks earlier.

Top performers can expect a much larger pay raise. In 2018 they received 1.74 times the salary increase of an average performer in the same position, based on findings from Mercer’s 2018/2019 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey, for which more than 1,500 organizations provided data from April to May 2018. To read more about the increase in compensation, click here.

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