Despite a hot job market, your raise will most likely be 3% or less

While 81% of organizations are planning base pay increases in 2019, the average increase isn’t expected to rise much from 2018.

As everyone knows, it’s a candidate’s job market, with unemployment at a 50-year low. However, according to compensation software company Payscale, Inc.’s 2019 Compensation Best Practices poll, that doesn’t mean employers are handing out raises with jobs.

Payscale Inc. talked to 7,000 employers about employee compensation, retention, and management, and they said: don’t expect a big raise – while 81% of organizations are planning base pay increases in 2019, the average increase isn’t expected to rise much from 2018, with 70% of employers projecting raises of 3% or less for 2019.


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Compensation expectation

Only certain types of jobs got higher raises in 2018. Over 40% of employers gave raises of 10% or more for some jobs at their organizations, typically for more competitive jobs, such as IT, where it’s hard to attract the right talent. While the vast majority of raises were for performance (50%), the next highest category (roughly 17%) was for retention.

Instead of money, employers plan on perks and work-life benefits to reward employees.

Working from home is a big one: 44% will allow it (up from 39% last year). Plus, 37% will offer flex time. Unlimited PTO has almost doubled in recent years (5% of companies offered it in 2016; now 9% offer it in 2018). A 4-day work week is available to a lucky 10%.

Cash incentives aren’t completely gone: in 2018, 55% of all surveyed organizations paid out bonuses on an annual basis. Some gave out bonus pay on a quarterly (17%) or monthly (11%) basis.

Will employees stay?

Retention was a worry for employers – organizations concerned about it was up 7% from the previous year. Also, almost half of all organizations say the strong job market has increased their turnover rate –  and less than 25% of that was “good” turnover, meaning the natural exit of low performers.

Meanwhile, a number of sectors have jobs that are hard to fill – mainly tech, engineering, and skilled trades.

It’s hard to say

Bonus or no bonus, work-from-home privileges or not, it seems like employees just want a heftier paycheck – and a decent raise. To wit:

In 2018, only 22% of employees “strongly disagreed” they were being paid fairly by their organization.

However, 42% of employers strongly agreed that employees were being paid fairly.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.