Employers worried about losing staff amid salary reductions and freezes


Employers’ concerns now include losing their top performers, according to research from Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI).

A majority of senior managers in a recent survey, 88%, said they are worried about their company’s ability to retain valued staff, with 47% being very worried. Of those who said they are worried, 39% attribute their concern to salary reductions or planned salary freezes for the near future.

“Employees have been stretched to the limit during the pandemic, putting in longer hours and taking on additional responsibilities,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “While many companies have supported staff by providing more nonmonetary benefits, like flexible scheduling and enhanced wellness resources, they may have had to impose pay freezes or cuts in order to preserve jobs.”

Despite high unemployment, the research found a majority of companies are offering new recruits pay that meets or exceeds pre-pandemic numbers. Forty-four percent of senior managers surveyed said starting salaries for new hires have held steady since the spread of Covid-19 began, and nearly 28% noted an increase in base compensation.

In addition, 86% noted they are as likely to negotiate salary with new hires today than a year ago. Of those, 36% said they are more open to discussing starting pay with candidates now, compared to 12 months ago.

The online survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm from July 10 to Aug. 9. It includes responses from more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in 28 major US cities.