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High Salaries Help Keep, Attract Employees

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

While work-life balance is important, salary is often cited as main reason workers stay in their jobs

Employee retention relates to more than salary, as the recent shift toward improved work-life balance has indicated. 

But salary is still important. 

A survey of 52,000 people across 44 countries by PricewaterhouseCoopers states that more than one-third of those with specialty skills plan to ask for a raise. Twenty percent said they are “extremely likely or very likely” to change jobs.

This kind of mobility suggests that pay is still a big motivator for workers.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever have realized that they prefer working at home at least part of the time. Other top non-salary attractions include flexible working hours and better healthcare benefits. But without a sufficient salary, an employer can count of fewer applicants for their openings.

A good salary helps employees more easily meet their financial obligations, which can mean a more stable home life and a greater likelihood of staying in their role at work. This in turn lowers the company’s cost of recruiting, screening, hiring, onboarding and training new staff, and the reduced overall productivity that can result during these transitional periods.

According to Pew Research Centers, most of the workers (63%) who walked away from a job in 2021 said that their low pay was a major reason why.

Others said that lack of opportunity for advancement and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were why they didn’t return. Still others cited childcare (48%), lack of schedule flexibility (45%) and poor health insurance and paid tie off benefits (43%). Respondents were permitted to select more than one answer. The survey, taken in 2021, revealed that 31% said that their choice to leave their job (not a furlough or layoff) was related to the pandemic outbreak, such as concerns about their own health and/or a family member’s health, or to care for someone who was ill.

Of those who quit, the Pew study stated that most (63%) have not retired but have found work. Ninety-four percent of those said it was somewhat easy or very easy to find work.