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January 13, 2010
Caution Reigns in Forecasting 2010 Pay
According to 124 Fortune 500 and other multi-national companies surveyed in late October 2009, US salaries are likely to improve during 2010. The same companies are not as optimistic about bonuses, though.

A few of the survey’s key findings include an overall average salary merit increase amount for 2010 of 2.49%. When those respondents not planning any increases are excluded, the average increase is expected to reach 2.64%. Overall salary total increases are expected by survey respondents to average 2.78%, or 2.96% when respondents who don’t expect to pay any increases are excluded.

The highest total 2010 increase forecast came in at 3.9%, from the pharmaceutical industry. The lowest, at 2.4%, is expected to be paid by the insurance industry.

The picture for bonuses is not so rosy. Thirty-one percent of executives and management are expected to receive bonuses that are somewhat or significantly lower in 2010 based on their performance in 2009. Twenty-one percent of executives and 20% of management expect to receive somewhat higher bonuses, while only 7% of executives and 6% of management expect significantly higher bonuses.

On a positive note, 92% of companies reported that they either anticipate no salary freeze for 2010, or are lifting one that was in affect during 2009.

“Companies expressed serious concerns in relation to their ability to retain, recruit, motivate and develop their employees given the constraints on costs and the absence of robust increases and incentives,” explained Vincent McHugh, Managing Director of Empsight International. “These concerns exist despite the relatively high current unemployment rate.”

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