- Compensation is on the upswing in high-wage sectors, but pay growth has tempered in low-wage industries, Indeed's Hiring Lab found. More specifically, wage growth in retail, food services, bars and clubs, and child care has slowed to a crawl. Meanwhile, compensation for hospital employees and workers in legal services has increased.
- Data from its monthly job postings tracker, as well as its monthly Job Search Survey, indicated that demand for workers remains higher than talent's overall willingness to fill open roles. Indeed pins this on rapid post-COVID-19 economic recovery, which has contributed to a hiring boom.
- Regarding the talent that is returning to work, the recovery has been strongest for young workers and those aged 25 to 54. Indeed observed this by analyzing the employment-to-population ratio for several age cohorts, including 16 to 24 years old, 25 to 54 years old and 55 years and up.
A tension exists between the lack of urgency in job-searching, continued frequency of quits, stagnant wages, inflation and reported attitudes toward labor.
Indeed's research team noted that the labor force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio have both been "sluggish." Likewise, there has been a rise in the number of jobless people reporting that they are "urgently" searching for a job — a markedly subtle increase "far slower" than jobs have rebounded. Even still, as 2022 marches on, quits rates continue to be unprecedented for the 21st century, Indeed observed.
But many workers are also plagued by financial anxiety, exacerbated by inflation talk. A February 2022 report by the Conference Board revealed that about a third of pandemic job-hoppers saw a 30% increase in wages – another 20% said they saw a 10 to 20% increase in wages, supporting the theory that participating in the Great Resignation can be worth it for workers who feel undervalued.
That being said, 62% of workers told The Conference Board they either agree or strongly agree with the statement "I am concerned about whether my salary will keep up with the rising cost of living/inflation." Notably, millennials were the most worried about inflation: 72% of millennial respondents said they were concerned, compared to 62% of Gen Xers and 59% of baby boomers who said the same.
Looking at the numbers, the concern may be valid. For example, average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm workers grew from $30.04 to $31.58 between February 2021 and February 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Despite this translation of about 5% growth year-over-year, wages actually decreased by 2.6% in that year-long window; effectively, inflation has dimmed the glow of a pay bump.
Complicating the issue is U.S. employers' tendency to bestow short-term financial rewards upon their workers, instead of increasing the overall pay, a human resources expert previously told HR Dive.
Indeed's report did nod to "rebounding employment," but reminded readers that this path forward possibly involves the road bumps of "quickly tightening monetary policy, geopolitical instability, and new variants of COVID-19."
What employers can do to assuage worker's concerns, and continue to attract and retain talent is simple: pay people more. As one HR expert told CFO Dive, employers often assume the issue lies in the labor market, instead of people management. Especially with the above findings in mind, that is, arguably, not the case.
Workforce experts told the publication that as employers make plans to raise wages, they should make plans to link compensation bumps to increased productivity and re-assess the total rewards offered to staff.