U.S. workers have eased their expectations for pay growth amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the findings of an Aug. 4 Randstad US survey. Among the 1,200 workers surveyed, 62% said they expect a pay raise every year to stay with their current company, down from 82% in 2018.
Additionally, 64% of survey respondents said they would prefer a position with growth potential over “a position that pays more but does not challenge me” and 58% would rather negotiate for a better benefits package than a higher salary.
Eighty percent of respondents were pleased with their employer's COVID-19 response to their professional needs and 76% reported satisfaction with their employer's actions to meet personal needs as well. Just over two-thirds (68%) have not had their compensation negatively impacted due to the pandemic.
Randstad's findings align with a July Hinge Research Institute survey of job seekers in which 57% of respondents considered culture as important as salary. Even pre-pandemic research suggests a growing importance of culture over other more tangible factors. Earlier reporting by HR Dive suggests that employers will also need to rethink leave and overall benefits strategies in light of changes brought on by the pandemic.
When COVID-19 first shut down offices and businesses began to feel the pain, compensation was one of the first areas impacted. Many public companies turned to pay reductions, and sales compensation plans also started seeing adjustments. By June, more than 60% of SMBs reduced their workforce in some capacity and 83% have experienced decreased revenue, according to a survey by Harris and TriNet.
Employee sentiment around their employers' coronavirus response and outlook for the future has improved over the past few months. At first, responses to employee concerns didn't fall within traditional frameworks of discrimination, disability, retaliation and workplace safety, according to a survey by the law firm Blank & Rome in March. In another employee survey from March, just under a third of respondents trusted their leadership's ability to navigate the pandemic. The figures from the Randstad US study may imply that employees are now feeling better.
Optimism among small business leaders has improved as well since March, with 54% of respondents in a Paycor survey saying they are planning to hire in 2020.