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38% of U.S. Workers Aren’t Betting on Above-Inflation Raises
Still, U.S. workers are slightly more optimistic than global workers

By SHRM Online staff  7/19/2012


As the effects of the recession continue to plague the economy, almost 4 in 10 U.S. workers (38 percent) do not anticipate receiving above-inflation pay raises in the near future, while 26.3 percent were optimistic about receiving a raise that will outpace inflation (the remainder were uncertain), according to the 2012 Pay Optimism Scale survey conducted by NorthgateArinso, an HR service provider.

American employees proved to be slightly more optimistic than global employees, however. Almost half (45.1 percent) of global workers fear they have no chance of receiving an above-inflation wage hike. If these expectations are met, it will mean that the majority of people would actually lose money on their salary in 2012.

The survey found that some of the lowest expectations for wage increases are in the Eurozone (54.5 percent). UK employees showed minimal optimism with 70 percent not anticipating a pay increase. Employees in the Asia Pacific region were more positive with more than a third (36.5 percent) expecting an above-inflation boost. 

Nonfinancial Benefits Soften the Blow

Adding to the difficulties faced by employees in the U.S. and abroad is the perceived lack of action taken by employers to help soften the blows dealt by the tightening of corporate purse strings. According to the survey, 69 percent of global respondents and 73.3 percent of U.S. respondents said their business has not adapted to economic conditions by increasing non-pay related benefits.

“Business leaders should be asking about other ways to make sure that their talent feels valued,” said Brad Everett, NorthgateArinso vice president of strategy, marketing and portfolio management. “After pay, relatively low cost initiatives such as flexible working and wellness programs are hugely prized by employees, and these are changes that companies can easily make to show how they value workers.”

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