Poll: Most HR Managers OK with Minimum-Wage Hike



A majority favor an increase held to $10/hour or less

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Sep 30, 2014

Most U.S. hiring and HR managers (62 percent) think the minimum wage in their state should be increased, according to a nationwide Harris Poll on behalf of staffing firm CareerBuilder.

Conducted from May 13 to June 6, 2014, respondents included 2,188 full-time hiring and HR managers. Poll results were released in September 2014.

While most employers would like to see a minimum-wage hike in their state, only 7 percent think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more—as called for by labor activists and their political allies—would be fair, while nearly half (48 percent) think a fair minimum wage should be set between $10 and $14 per hour.

What is a fair minimum wage?
Employers (hiring and HR managers) supported a minimum wage set at the following levels.

$7.25 per hour (current federal minimum)

8%

$8.00 to $9.00 per hour

29%

$10.00 per hour

29%

$11.00 to $14.00 per hour

19%

$15.00 or more per hour

7%

No set minimum wage

9%

Source: Harris Poll and CareerBuilder


Among employers who wanted a minimum-wage increase, a majority said the increase would help the economy and help them to retain employees.

Reasons for supporting a minimum-wage increase

It can improve employees’ standard of living.

74%

It can have a positive effect on employee retention.

58%

It can help bolster the economy.

55%

It can increase consumer spending.

53%

Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work.

48%

It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education.

39%

Source: Harris Poll and CareerBuilder


Employers who opposed a minimum-wage increase cited several reasons related to the negative effects it may have on their business.

Reasons for opposing a minimum-wage increase

It can cause employers to hire fewer people.

66%

It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by.

65%

It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs.

62%

It can mean potential layoffs.

50%

It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers.

32%

Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues.

29%

Source: Harris Poll and CareerBuilder

Firms Hiring Minimum-Wage Workers

Twenty-seven percent of employers said they were hiring minimum-wage workers in 2014, including 51 percent of retailers and 58 percent of leisure and hospitality firms, the poll showed.

Of those employers who currently employ minimum-wage workers, 45 percent are hiring more minimum-wage workers today than they did pre-recession.

Employers favoring a minimum-wage increase by industry and demographics

Gender

Male

57%

Female

68%

Age

18-34

71%

35-54

61%

55+

56%

Industry

Health care

65%

Retail

68%

Leisure and hospitality

60%

Information technology

67%

Manufacturing

52%

Financial services

54%

Professional and business services

59%

Region

Northeast

64%

South

63%

Midwest

58%

West

62%

Company size (employees)

<50

59%

51-500

62%

501-1000

67%

>1001

63%

Source: Harris Poll and CareerBuilder

Workers Cite Financial Struggles

A separate polling sample of 3,372 workers in the private sector found that 79 percent of full-time, nonmanagement-level employees have worked in a minimum-wage job in the past or are currently in a minimum-wage job. Of these workers, 59 percent said they were not or are not able to make ends meet financially.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMsmiller.​

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