salary and compensation statistics on the impact of COVID-19.

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a look at a global pandemic’s impact on the world of work

Despite COVID-19 being at the forefront of the global conversation and the resulting economic uncertainties, job seekers are displaying signs of confidence — including negotiating salaries, backing out of job opportunities and even ghosting or ignoring calls from potential employers. The Randstad COVID-19 2020 U.S. Compensation Insights survey explores the sentiments of 1,200 American workers on today’s salary negotiation practices, honing in on generational and gender differences.

Here’s what we learned:

Although younger workers are more likely to get cold feet or “ghost” prospective job offers, these generations are doing less of it — and the number of traditionalists (65+) is on the rise.

I've gotten "cold feet" with a job opportunity in the past, accepting a job offer, only to change my mind and back out at the last minute.

41 percent of all survey pie chart 54% of gen z 
60% of millennials
50% of gen x
35% of boomers
28% of traditionalists

I've “ghosted” (accepted a job offer only to disappear entirely without informing the employer ahead of the start date) an employer for a higher paying job opportunity elsewhere.

33 percent of all survey pie chart 48% of gen z
52% of millennials
41% of gen x
21% of boomers
16% of traditionalists

Despite the pandemic, not much has changed in other respects. Our survey reveals a continued disconnect between employer wants and employee needs regarding pay transparency.

 

2019*

2020

I prefer to keep my salary or pay private and not discuss it with others.

76%

78%

My company does not publish salary or pay information for each role.

55%

54%

I wish my employer would publish salary or pay ranges of what each role earns across the company.

60%

58%

My company publishes salary or pay information for each role.

45%

46%

Women and men have different salary negotiation tactics. Women can be better self-advocates, but the trend of women being less likely to engage in any sort of negotiating or discussions or pushing for higher salary continues.

 

all

women

men

I have asked my colleagues about their salary before entering salary negotiations.

41% agree

36%

47%

I would rather negotiate for a higher amount and settle for a number in the middle than ask for nothing.

78% agree

75%

81%

I've never negotiated my pay.

54% agree

57%

51%

As a negotiation tactic, I've told a prospective employer I had another job offer — when I really didn't.

39% agree

35%

44%

I prefer giving a specific number rather than a range when negotiating for a higher amount.

65% agree

61%

70%

I would leave my role to find an equivalent position at a different company just to make a salary jump that I won't receive if I stay at my current company.

63% agree

60%

66%

Generationally, older workers are more likely to ask up front for the salary they want, whereas younger workers are more indirect with negotiations.

I would rather negotiate for a higher amount and settle for a number in the middle than ask for nothing.

78 percent of all survey pie chart 71% of gen z
78% of millennials
82% of gen x
79% of boomers
82% of traditionalists

I've never negotiated my pay.

54 percent of all survey pie chart 61% of gen z
61% of millennials
52% of gen x
45% of boomers
52% of traditionalists

As a negotiation tactic, I've told a prospective employer I had another job offer when I really didn't.

39 percent of all survey pie chart 52% of gen z
62% of millennials
50% of gen x
34% of boomers
22% of traditionalists

Compensation remains a key factor in employee retention, but employees appear to be less confident that they will receive ongoing pay increases in the wake of the global pandemic.

My compensation is sufficient to make me stay in my current role for the next 12 months.

83 percent of 2018 pie chart 76 percent of 2019 pie chart 80 percent of 2020 pie chart

I expect a pay raise every year in order for me to stay at my current company.

 

2018**

2019*

2020

all employees

82%

66%

62%

gen z

82%

73%

65%

millennials

91%

74%

78%

gen x

80%

71%

72%

boomers

76%

62%

57%

traditionalists

63%

43%

40%

Additionally, while salary remains important, there are other ways to effectively attract and retain workers.

64 percent of all survey pie chart I would rather take a position with growth potential than a position that pays more but does not challenge me.

58 percent of all survey pie chart I would rather negotiate for a stronger benefits package than a higher salary.

Lastly, job satisfaction remains positive as employers respond to COVID-19.

76 percent of all survey pie chart I am satisfied at how my employer's response to COVID-19 met my personal needs.

80 percent of all survey pie chart I am satisfied at how my employer's response to COVID-19 met my professional needs.

80 percent say pie chart Their compensation has not been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

75 percent of all survey pie chart I have a positive outlook on my employment options over the next six months and 12 months.

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*sources:
Randstad’s pre-COVID-19 2020 U.S. compensation insights survey

Randstad’s Why Employees Stay or Go survey

age ranges:
gen Z: 18 - 24 years old
millennials: 25 - 34 years old
gen X: 35 - 49 years old
boomers: 50 - 64 years old 
traditionalists: 65+, retired 

survey methodology
Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Dynata on behalf of Randstad US. The survey was fielded from June 22 to June 25, 2020. It included 1,200 employed people between the ages of 18 and 65+ and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, education, gender and region.


Finally, are you an employee looking to make the transition to remote work on account of COVID-19? We’ve got your back, and put together some resources, too. Start with this article, it's packed with helpful and timely tips to support your career transition.
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