HR Leaders Predict Salary Increases in 2022

HR Leaders Predict Salary Increases in 2022

Average pay increase is likely to be outpaced by inflation
Pay raise sign

As workers continue to quit their jobs in record numbers, the Great Resignation doesn't appear to be winding down. An all-time record high number of employees quit their jobs in September, and the majority of HR leaders (60%) believe that the struggle to attract and retain talent will persist through 2022 and beyond.

In a recent survey from professional services firm Grant Thornton LLP, HR leaders were asked about the challenges they expect to face in the coming year, and their predictions when it comes to retaining talent. Survey respondents shared that they see salary increases on the horizon, but according to their feedback, those increases may be minimal.

Pay increases and inflation

The majority of HR leaders (65%) say that staffing will be a key concern in 2022 and beyond. In the struggle to attract and retain talent, pay increases could be the most useful weapon. Here's what HR leaders expect next year, when it comes to compensation:

  • 51% expect average merit increases of over 5%
  • 88% expect average increases of over 3%
  • 68% say the number of employees eligible to receive a cash bonus has already increased

Are these increases enough to keep workers happy? As inflation rates soar to a 30-year high, employees may be disappointed with the change in their compensation, even if they do receive a larger-than-average merit increase. With the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recently rising to 6.8%, its highest gain since 1982, a 5% pay increase could still mean a loss in spending power and translate to another hit for workers' morale.

What workers want

Beyond changes in pay, other benefits may be meaningful enough to improve employee satisfaction and improve retention. In various surveys, the list of benefits that workers identify as meaningful include things like more support for parents, and even the option to bring a pet to the office. But remote work opportunities are a mainstay in the conversation.

In a more extensive survey from Grant Thornton on the State of Work in America, 51% of respondents said they would forego a 10% to 20% salary increase if they could have more flexibility in when and where they work.

Those who report feeling burnout aren't necessarily prioritizing pay increases either. In a report on employee burnout from Eagle Hill Consulting, 83% of workers said their employer could best alleviate stress and improve retention by switching to a four-day work week. In that same report, employees also said that increased flexibility and decreased workloads would help.

It's uncertain whether companies are largely preparing to shift to work arrangements like four-day work weeks, but a shift to more remote options seems to be in motion. In the new survey from Grant Thornton, 58% of HR leaders said they're considering hybrid and remote environments when creating and updating job descriptions, and 46% said their organization is looking to reduce office space in tandem with new hybrid arrangements.

Methodology: Grant Thornton LLP conducted a survey of 551 senior U.S. HR leaders in August 2021.