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A majority favor an increase held to $10/hour or less
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)
$8.00 to $9.00 per hour
$10.00 per hour
$11.00 to $14.00 per hour
$15.00 or more per hour
No set minimum wage
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.
It can have a positive effect on employee retention.
It can help bolster the economy.
It can increase consumer spending.
Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work.
It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education.
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.
It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by.
It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs.
It can mean potential layoffs.
It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers.
Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues.
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
Leisure and hospitality
Professional and business services
Company size (employees)
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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