If you’re hoping for a big raise this year, prepare to be disappointed. Sure, you might be among the lucky people who get a healthy bump in salary, but a recent survey by professional services firm Towers Watson found that companies are planning pay raises of 3 percent on average for workers.
A new survey by human resources and management consultancy Aon Hewitt confirms that forecast: Even as the job market continues to improve, salaried employees can expect their base pay to increase 3 percent, or about a percentage point smaller than the raises employers were handing out 20 years ago.
From 1996 through 2000, salaries went up by about 4.1 percent a year, according to Aon Hewitt data. From 2011 through 2015, annual raises have averaged about 2.8 percent. And even as we get further away from the recession, that downward shift appears to be permanent, as companies look to keep a lid on their fixed costs.
"The modest increases we've seen over the past 20 years are an indication that employers have changed their compensation strategies for good, and we shouldn't expect to see salary increases revert back to 4 percent or higher levels that were commonplace in the past," said Aon Hewitt’s Ken Abosch.
On the bright side, at least for some workers, employers are planning on doling out more money in the form of bonuses, cash awards and other so-called variable pay. Aon Hewitt’s survey found that workers will see their variable pay rise by 12.9 percent this year.
That shift favors higher-level white-collar workers, since companies have been cutting back on bonus and incentive pay for clerical or technical workers. In 2011, only 43 percent of companies gave bonuses or other cash incentives to those hourly workers eligible for overtime pay, down from 61 percent in 2009, according to data Aon Hewitt shared with The Washington Post. On the other hand, 93 percent of companies offer incentive programs to employees with a fixed salary.
As Abosch told the Post: “It’s the haves and the have nots.”
Top Reads From The Fiscal Times
- How a Biden-Warren Ticket Could Transform the Campaign
- The 10 Best States for Property Taxes
- Air Force Brushes off $27 Billion Accounting Error
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.
The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.