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October 28, 2009
Most Employers Plan to Unfreeze Salaries within 6 Months

Fifty-four percent of large employers that have frozen salaries say that they will unfreeze them in the next 6 months, up from 33 percent who said the same in August, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm.

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Overall, 56 percent of organizations in the survey have instituted a salary freeze and a hiring freeze since the economic crisis began

The survey also found that 49 percent of respondents plan to reverse hiring freezes at least partially in the next six months, up from 38 percent who said the same in August.

Thirty-five percent of employers are planning to reverse reductions to 401(k) match contributions in the next six months, up from 24 percent in August. Overall, 25 percent of respondents in the survey said they have reduced their employer match.

The survey was conducted in October 2009 and includes responses from 201 large employers.

"The general economic picture right now is definitely brighter than it was just a few months ago," said Laura Sejen, global director of strategic rewards consulting at Watson Wyatt. "However, the recovery is uneven and most employers aren't fully convinced that the improvements they've seen are here to stay. While many plan to hire workers over the next few months, they remain concerned about their ability to attract and retain the right people."

Almost all companies (96 percent) have made offers to new hires in the past three months, and the vast majority (93 percent) anticipate making offers in the next three months. However, approximately one-fifth of respondents anticipate making layoffs in the remainder of 2009 or in 2010.

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