Salaries Static Across the Board

Managers’ pay will hold steady next year, but some jobs may be in jeopardy.

By John Dooney and Shawn Fegley November 1, 2010

Unexpectedly slow economic growth in 2010 caused downward pressure on salaries throughout the year, and estimates of salary growth for 2011 indicate little change.

Employers’ budgets for salary increases in 2011 are about 3 percent of current payroll, up slightly from the 2.5 percent median salary increase for 2010, The Conference Board reported.

In addition, many organizations are keeping new-hire compensation levels flat, most likely because the weak job market is causing many new employees to accept lower wages and benefits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) monthly Leading Indicators of National Employment

As business leaders look to conserve cash, more highly paid middle management positions may be areas cut first. According to another SHRM report, Labor Market Outlook, a quarterly survey of recruiting and hiring trends among 400 HR professionals, managers and professionals continued to be the hardest-hit by layoffs.

While maintaining the status quo appears to be the norm for middle managers’ salaries, the tables at right illustrate the extremes. These data show positions where median annual salaries increased—or decreased—at the highest rates from 2009 to 2010, as reported by Towers Watson Data Services.

John Dooney is manager of strategic research and Shawn Fegley is a survey research analyst at SHRM.

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