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Survey: 2018 Raises Were 3% Or Less

February 21st, 2019

payscale chart

Retention's a big problem. Turnover is on the rise. And attracting talent -- any skilled, qualified applicant, let alone top tier talent -- tops most employers' list of workforce challenges.

Despite all that, the latest report from PayScale two-thirds of employers gave raises last year of 3% or less. In fact, says the survey from PayScale, just over a quarter gave less than 2.5%. Considering that the Consumer Price Index for 2018 increased 1.9%, the typical worker ended the year barely ahead. In many metropolitan areas, the raise wouldn't even cover the impact of inflation.

PayScale also asked the workers who quit last year, why. By far, they listed better pay, personal reasons and professional advancement. Since they could list more than one reason for leaving, we don't know how many quit just for the money. But comparing the percentages from 2018 to 2017, the increase was the largest of any of the categories. In 2017, 57% said they quit for more money. Last year, that percentage jumped to 65%. It's a strong hint that in this hot job market, workers are figuring out that to get a raise, they need to change jobs.

Recognizing that it's better to keep top talent than try to replace the best performers, savvy employers handed out substantial raises based on performance to select workers. 28% of employers gave at least one raise larger than 10% to deserving workers' almost 10% gave a raise between 20% and 30%.

The PayScale report advises, "Employers seeking to be employers of choice will do well to link their pay raises to performance and market rates for their jobs."

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