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Base Pay, Benefits Largely Unchanged During Pandemic

Tamara E. Holmes
·3 min read
Base Pay, Benefits Largely Unchanged During Pandemic
Base Pay, Benefits Largely Unchanged During Pandemic

Though the pandemic has sparked layoffs and wreaked havoc on the economy, many workers who have kept their jobs have come away largely unscathed.

The majority of workers have not seen a decline in their base salaries or had benefits taken away, according to a new survey of human resources professionals. The survey was conducted by MindEdge Learning, an education company, and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), a credentialing organization for the human resources industry.

Though that is good news for workers who are content to stay in their current jobs, those who are thinking about a job change may have a more challenging time finding work in the current environment.

Pay and benefits untouched for most

When it comes to compensating employees throughout the pandemic:

  • 81% of companies have not reduced workers’ base compensation

  • 89% have not cut back on any of their benefits

An earlier survey found that 61% of companies would offer bonuses this year.

However, some employees did see a change for the worse in their compensation, according to the MindEdge/HRCI survey. The most common benefit to be cut or reduced was a 401(k) match by employers. Among respondents, 8% said their companies eliminated the match during the pandemic.

Also, 19% of respondents said their companies had cut compensation for at least some employees, with 4% saying it had been reduced for all employees.

On the flip side, some companies have enhanced their benefits packages in response to the pandemic. In fact, 53% said their companies have either introduced new benefits to help employees handle stress or plan to do so.

That could be good news for employees for a couple of reasons. For one, 3 in 4 respondents said their companies have experienced an increase in employee burnout because of stress surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. Also, an earlier survey found that many workers have become less satisfied with their benefits in general since the pandemic began.

Hiring slowing for some companies

While companies may be reluctant to cut the base pay of current employees, some appear to be slowing their plans to recruit new employees.

Though 88% of respondents said their companies were still hiring during the pandemic 43% said they were hiring at a lower rate than before the crisis began.

The job market may also be more competitive than before the pandemic, the survey suggests. Nearly 3 in 4 respondents — 73% — said they have identified more qualified job applicants than they did before the pandemic partly because of the higher unemployment rate that has occurred throughout the crisis.

Though a majority of companies — 68% — are now handling most of their HR functions remotely, some respondents expressed some reservations about recruiting and onboarding new employees in a virtual environment:

  • 35% said recruiting remotely is more difficult than recruiting in person

  • 38% said onboarding remotely is more difficult than onboarding remotely

  • 25% said conducting interviews remotely is a less productive process than conducting them in person

Methodology: MindEdge and HRCI surveyed 757 certified human resources professionals between Sept. 15 to Oct. 2, 2020.