According to an article in today’s Chicago Tribune, employers plan to give smaller pay raises this year than previously expected. Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, surveyed 640 companies to learn workers can expect an average base pay increase of 3 percent, which is less than the 3.8 percent employers projected in July.

The 640 companies surveyed by Hewitt represent almost 13.5 million U.S. workers, which makes me wonder how many small businesses were included. Large companies are more likely to still be able to afford pay raises for their employees. Small businesses are less likely to dole out pay increases.

At least the newspaper article acknowledges that some workers won’t get any pay raises. But it doesn’t specifically mention that certain industries tend to undercompensate even their most hardworking employees. I went three years without a pay raise at the small daily newspaper that laid me off in November, despite my bosses telling me I was one of the best reporters on staff. My point in mentioning this is so those who get lesser pay raises realize they still should be thankful they are getting any more money. Lots of people weren’t getting pay raises – mostly at smaller companies, I suspect – even before the current economic recession began, and now millions of people don’t even have jobs. So on the bright side, at least those who get smaller pay increases this year are still employed.

The Hewitt Associates survey also notes that workers in several industries, including construction, engineering and pharmaceutical, can expect pay raises higher than 3 percent. I assume that CEOs of banks, oil companies and other big businesses can still count on getting outrageous amounts of extra cash as well.

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