U.S., Canadian workers can expect pay hikes: survey
By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - Even as companies in the auto, airline and financial sectors slash jobs in the face of a slowing economy, most U.S. and Canadian workers who escape the cost-cutting ax can expect their paychecks to get a little fatter next year.
Employers in those countries expect to increase their pay budgets by 3.9 percent in 2009, in line with this year's increase, according to a preliminary study released on Tuesday by WorldatWork, a trade association for human resources professionals.
The survey found that, on average, 91 percent of employees can expect raises this year, with high performers seeing their pay rise 5 percent or more and below-average workers getting 2 percent or less. Very few companies plan no raises at all.
"There was a lot of skepticism as to how the economy was going to effect what employers are able to do financially with their employees," said Alison Avalos, compensation practice leader at the Scottsdale, Arizona-based group. She added that workers can take heart in the belief that "for average and good performance, they can expect a fairly consistent pay increase to what they've seen in recent years."
The increase is roughly in line with what employers have planned through this decade. Average pay increases hit their lowest rate in the survey's 35-year history in 2003 and 2004, when employers held raises to an average of 3.6 percent.
The news comes during what has so far been a grim summer for workers in many sectors.
Ailing U.S. automaker General Motors Corp said on Tuesday it would seek to cut its white-collar employment costs about 20 percent by cutting thousands of managerial jobs. It joined airlines including United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp , and mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc, which has been seized by regulators, in shedding workers. Continued...