Employees Report Cutbacks in Pay, Benefits and Perks

Forty percent expect higher pay in 2010; Baby Boomers less optimistic

By Stephen Miller July 9, 2010

Layoffs are decreasing in the United States, but the recovery is not yet on firm ground, workers say. Many report smaller raises and bonuses than they expected, more work without more pay, reduction of health benefits and lost company perks.

In the second quarter of 2010, nearly half (45 percent) of U.S. employees reported their employers made changes to the number of staff, organizational structure, compensation and benefits, or other perks in the prior six months, according to the second quarter 2010 Glassdoor.comEmployment Confidence Survey of 2,418 U.S. adults.

While these employees reported fewer instances of layoffs (47 percent) than in recent quarters, they reported higher rates of compensation cuts and changes (57 percent), including bonus reductions or eliminations (27 percent), reductions in health and/or dental benefits (22 percent) and removal of company perks (i.e., commuter subsidies, 20 percent).

The survey was fielded June 18-22, 2010, among 2,418 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,324 were employed and 203 were unemployed but looking. Survey sponsor Glassdoor.com is an online career and workplace community focusing on employee attitudes toward jobs and companies.

Key Findings

The survey revealed that many employees are still recovering from the 2008-09 recession. Almost three in four (74 percent) employees say their career has been impacted by the economic downturn. Of these, employees reported the following:


The raise and/or bonus I would typically receive has been smaller or was eliminated.


I have taken on more work without more compensation or advancement.


I am making less money than I have historically.


I want a job change but cannot find a job at another company.


I cannot get a promotion or other advancement at my employer.


I am making more money than I have historically.


I had to take a new job with lower compensation than I have had historically.

Salary Expectations

Slightly more employees (43 percent) think they will not get a pay increase in the next 12 months than those who expect they will (40 percent). Nearly one in five (17 percent) are uncertain.

The number that expect a pay raise is up from just 32 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Among employed Baby Boomers age 55 and older, the majority (58 percent) do not expect a pay increase within the year, while 30 percent do. However, the inverse is true of employees 18 to 34; more young employees expect a pay raise (45 percent) than those who do not (37 percent).

Job Satisfaction Stalled

Many employees reported their job satisfaction has stayed the same (42 percent) or worsened (27 percent) compared to a year earlier.

Interestingly, more men (29 percent) report that their job satisfaction is higher than it was a year earlier compared to less than a quarter (23 percent) of women.

For employers that initiated layoffs in the prior six months, staff were almost twice as likely to report that their job satisfaction had worsened in the past year than those who work for companies that haven’t had or communicated plans to lay off employees.

“While we’re seeing rising employee confidence in the areas of job security, pay raises and company outlook, many are still recovering from the effects and turmoil felt and witnessed at companies and in the job market over the past two years,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor.com career and workplace expert, who previously led global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo. “This is a critical time for employers, as employees’ expectations are rising around pay and other areas. How employers behave and communicate now will certainly influence future satisfaction and impact retention as the economy recovers.”

Stephen Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM.


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