Employee Compensation Trends for 2021

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How much we are paid for doing our jobs is one of the most important factors when deciding where to work. Unfortunately, during the past year, many workers worldwide have dealt with pay loss, pay reductions, job loss, and layoffs as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a new survey from Elements Global Services, many workers who have dealt with salary loss have not yet returned to pre-pandemic pay and compensation levels.

The survey aimed to learn more about pandemic-related trends in job compensation, feelings on executive pay, and what percent pay raise would compel employees to leave their current jobs. Let us examine the survey results to learn more about employee compensation during the pandemic and the trends for 2021.

Pandemic pay changes were the focus of the first part of the survey. Elements Global Services asked employees across the globe to deal with pay reduction or job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that over 65% of Americans reported that their income from their job decreased or stayed the same in 2020, among the top reasons for pay decrease in 2020, where job loss and pay reduction were a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 55% of those who decreased their pay report that it has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, although many expect it to return sometime in 2021. These numbers were similar in both Canada and the UK.

Another factor contributing to income loss in 2020 is that many employers put freezes on pay raises and bonuses. Nearly half (46%) of Americans report not receiving either a pay raise or a bonus in 2020 because their employer had to freeze one or both during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite many workers worldwide dealing with pay freezes and reductions, many workers are optimistic that they will change in 2021. There is a general sense of optimism that pay will return to pre-pandemic levels sometime in 2021. Across all three countries surveyed, just above 50% said they expect pay to return to pre-pandemic levels sometime in 2021.

Surveyed respondents were next asked how they would spend any extra money offered to them from their employer in 2021 if their pay returned to pre-pandemic levels. Most of those surveyed (48%) said they would use unexpected extra income towards their savings. In addition, 25% of respondents said they would use the unanticipated extra income to pay off a debt they had incurred during the previous year. However, there was almost a mixed split between those who said they would buy something they wanted (16%) and those who would use the money to buy something they needed (11%).

The final part of the survey asked about who workers go about negotiating salary with their employer. The survey shows that most workers are hesitant to regularly negotiate their salary with their employer, with 29% of workers saying they have not discussed salary with their employer once during the last two years.

Employee Compensation Trends for 2021

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