Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Many employers that struggled this year to cut costs and trim staffs to make it through the recession are optimistic of a turnaround and plan to reward employees with raises next year, according to Mercer Human Resources Consulting’s “2009/2010 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey Update.”

Mercer is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos. that provides human resources consulting, outsourcing and advisory services in more than 180 cities in 40 countries. It bases its Kentucky operations at the Meidinger Tower, 462 S. Fourth St.

According to its report, the percentage of organizations planning companywide salary freezes in 2010 has fallen to 14 percent compared with an estimated 30 percent of companies that had salary freezes this year.

Of those employers granting base pay increases, the average increase is expected to be 2.7 percent in 2010, down from an actual 3.2 percent in 2009.

Including salary freezes, average base pay increases for 2010 are projected to be 2.3 percent.

Mercer’s survey was conducted in November and includes responses from more than 350 mid-sized and large employers in the United States. The report is an update to a survey conducted in April.

“While planned 2010 base increases have dropped a bit from employers’ projections in April and are less than 2009 increases, this is still positive news given the fewer firm-wide pay freezes and staff reductions planned now compared to this time last year,” Loree Griffith, a principal with Mercer’s rewards consulting business, said in the release.

Griffith said that as companies prepare for an economic recovery, they are focusing more on retaining employees.

“Employers are still juggling selective hiring with selective cuts in staff as they evaluate specific work force needs,” Griffith said in the release. “Recognition programs, career development, training opportunities and creative communication campaigns — efforts that help keep employees engaged and motivated — along with incentive pay strategies will give companies a competitive edge as business begins to improve.”

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