By Karen Axelton
Are you looking to hire new employees in 2012, or at least hoping to keep the ones you’ve got satisfied? Then you’ll need to know about the latest trends in hiring and compensation in order to lure new workers to your company and retain existing ones. A new survey by Robert Half International has some good news for employees about what to expect in 2012, but it may not be such good news for employers.
First, raises are coming back. (That’s the bad news for employers.) According to the study, the average starting salary is projected to increase by 3.4 percent in 2012. Perhaps not surprisingly, high-tech employees will enjoy the biggest average increase (4.5 percent), but they won’t be the only ones with fatter paychecks in the coming year. Here’s how some other industries’ average starting salaries will stack up in 2012:
- Finance and accounting (3.5 percent)
- Creative and marketing (3.5 percent), and
- Administrative and office support (3.4 percent).
“Companies are restoring raises, though they remain moderate,” the survey reports. “Still focused on keeping expenses down, many businesses have yet to reward employees to the extent loyal workers feel is justified. In turn, employee frustration and the risk of voluntary turnover has risen.”
To help retain employees, firms are using perks as well as salary to keep workers happy. The most popular perks?
- Subsidized training/education (29 percent)
- Flexible work hours/telecommuting (24 percent)
- Mentoring programs (24 percent)
- Matching gifts programs (13 percent)
- Free or subsidized meals (11 percent)
- On-site perks, like child care, dry cleaning (11 percent)
- Subsidized transportation (10 percent)
- Subsidized gym memberships (9 percent)
- Sabbaticals (8 percent), and
- Housing/relocation assistance (7 percent).
I think it’s interesting that two of the most popular perks—training and mentoring—benefit employers as much as, or more than, they benefit employees. In fact, training’s popularity may be not so much out of altruism as necessity. Robert Half reports that the market for skilled professionals is more competitive than it has been in several years, with shortages of some types of skilled workers. As a result, if you don’t move quickly to snap up a good job candidate with a good offer, you’ll likely lose out.
What does it take to attract and retain workers in this environment? Robert Half offers three tips:
- Make sure your compensation package is competitive.
- Make sure top performers feel appreciated and know they have career potential with your business.
- Offer in-demand incentives—training and flexibility are the most desired perks for employees today.
You can download the detailed report at the Robert Half International website.
Image by Flickr user Podknox (Creative Commons)