Employers are expected to give an averaged 3% raise in base pay in the coming year, with top performers seeing as much as an 8% increase, thanks in part to a strengthening economy and growing job market.

According to Mercer, the average raise in base pay is expected to be 3% in 2015, up slightly from 2.9% in 2014, 2.8% in 2013 and 2.7% in 2012. In addition to the expected trend toward increased salaries, Mercer notes top-performing employees can expect to see as much as an 8% increase in base pay as companies continue to focus on retaining and engaging the best talent. 

“Employee engagement and retention continue to be a top priority for employers,” said Mary Ann Sardone, partner in Mercer’s talent practice and regional leader of the firm’s rewards segment. “As a result, employers recognize that they need to reward top-performing employees. And while pay is still most important, they’re continuing to provide rewards beyond compensation in the form of training and career development.”    

Also see: From barista to college grad: Starbucks pays for higher education

Mercer’s compensation trend survey includes responses from more than 1,500 mid- and large-sized employers across the U.S., capturing information for five employee categories: executive, management, professional (sales and nonsales), office/clerical/technician, and trades/production/service.

In addition to the differentiation seen across various employee segments, variations exist among industry sectors. Organizations in high-performing industries such as energy, for example, plan to grant higher raises than the average 3%. The energy industry projects an average pay increase of 3.5%. On the other hand, industries expecting to award less next year include consumer goods and services, at 2.8%.

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