The Great Payout? Companies Are Planning the Biggest Wage Increase Since 2008

After month of mass resignations and with unfilled job listings reaching 11 million, employers are ready to pay up.

Companies are budgeting an average of 3.9 percent for wage increases in 2022–the most since 2008–according to a new survey by The Conference Board, a non-partisan business research organization. Nearly half of respondents said the wage bump represents increased compensation for new hires; 39 percent said inflation plays a role.

As more and more workers look to change industries during the Great Resignation, companies are dangling wage increases to attract new blood or hold onto workers that are at risk of quitting. A recent survey of 14,502 U.S.-based LinkedIn members showed that 56 percent of job-seekers looking to change industries cite a desire for better compensation as their top reason for pursuing the switch. 

The industries most at risk of losing workers to better pay elsewhere are entertainment (69 percent), wellness and fitness (67 percent), retail (64 percent), and education (63 percent). It’s no coincidence that these are sectors in which employees faced dramatic changes to their their workplaces during the pandemic. But industries that have remained relatively stable over the past 20 months are at risk, too: 57 percent of workers in the software and IT services industry are also in search of better pay.

More money will sate some workers and reduce turnover for the time being, but likely not all. For businesses to really keep their labor force intact, they’ll likely have to pair more generous pay with other improvements workers are seeking such as upskilling opportunities and flexible work options.

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