Companies are scrambling to hold on to workers amid a tightening labor market and higher turnover, doling out bigger raises, expanding benefits and providing more training and other perks.
The U.S. unemployment rate last month fell from 5.5% to a near normal 5.4%, helping shift the labor market's balance of power to employees. In March, 2.8 million workers quit their jobs, largely to take other positions, the most since April 2008.
Companies are responding. Wages, salaries and benefits jumped 2.6% in the first quarter, the most since 2008, according to Labor's Employment Cost Index.
A USA Today article notes that about a third of chief financial officers are reinstating or increasing bonuses and half are boosting investment in training and development, according to a survey of 2,200 CFOs released this month by staffing firm Accountemps. And chains such as Wal-Mart, Target and McDonald's have trumpeted pay increases in recent months, while Starbucks expanded its online college tuition program, the article notes.
"They're awakening to the fact that they're going to lose their people," Paul McDonald, an executive at staffing firm Robert Half, which owns Accountemps, told USA Today. "We're seeing an increased investment in the employee."