US companies are offering smaller increases to poach talent, report finds

Cash is still king but employees are increasingly willing to settle for non-financial benefits.

The amount that companies in the US are paying to poach talent from their competitors has declined, according to Gartner Inc. The global research and advisory company’s latest Global Talent Monitor report reveals that, while companies in the US have historically offered a 15 percent pay increase to lure people into switch jobs, on average, that figure has dropped 2 percentage points in the last six months. The report, which captures data for the third quarter of 2019 shows that, in addition to the compensation premium declining, only one-third of employees were actively looking for new opportunities. 

“Additionally, for the second consecutive quarter, 51 percent of U.S. workers reflected their intent to stay with their current employer. This figure is well above the international average of nearly 40 percent” reads the statement from Gartner, which quotes chief of research in the HR practice Brian Kropp. 

Contrary to the view that employees are not entirely motivated by money, the Gartner data reveals that compensation has ranked as the primary reason for U.S. employees wanting leave an employer - a trend that has remained unchanged since the first quarter of 2018.  

However, the drop in job hunting and offered pay increases signals that both employers and employees view the market as tight driving employees to seek alternative incentives with the second and third most popular reasons cited for leaving a job being related to future career opportunities and people management.

“Faced with less than ideal compensation increases, U.S. workers are looking for other benefits and value they can extract from their jobs,” says Brian.

“Gartner data shows that even if wage increases remain low, workers will stay on with companies that develop programs which enhance their skills and invest in their professional growth within the company.”

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remains under 4 percent with more jobs openings than there are people to fill them. To attract talent and increase the number of workers who intend to stay in their current positions, companies need to develop programs that increase employee satisfaction and engagement, offer programs that workers value most, and deliver rewards that acknowledge workers’ efforts and successes.