A new compensation survey by Associated Industries of the Inland Northwest has found that employers here offered the lowest bump in starting pay for entry-level workers this year than at any time in the surveys 14-year history.
Only 28 percent of employers surveyed for the study said they increased their starting wage for entry-level workers in the past year. Usually, nearly half of respondents raise starting entry-level pay each year, says Bill Sweigert, director of consulting services at Associated Industries, a Spokane-based regional employers organization. The previous low for that survey question was 40 percent, back in 1993.
Sweigert says there could be a number of reasons behind the recent numbers, including the general drop in labor demand, which has made hiring new workers a less competitive process than it was when the economy was growing. He also believes that employers might be feeling a need to focus more of their raises on non-entry-level workers, to make up for a recent trend in the opposite direction.
Associated Industries latest annual Inland Northwest Compensation Survey polled 86 employers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. It was conducted in August and September and released late last month. The employers that participated in the survey together employ more than 20,000 people, Sweigert says. Almost all of the respondents were private businesses; a small number were nonprofit organizations. No government employers participated.
The report provides comprehensive wage and salary data on more than 100 job types, as well as information on benefit practices. Associated Industries sells the full report for $135 to members and for $295 to others.
Among the other findings in the report were that:
Those companies that did boost the starting pay of entry-level workers raised that base pay by an average of 4.7 percent. Also, 45 percent of respondents said they provided a general pay raise for employees, with the average increase being 3.5 percent.
About 68 percent of employers said they allow workers to accumulate sick leave, and that sick leave accrues at an average of 6.58 hours per month at their companies. Also, about 25 percent of respondents said they combine vacation time and sick days in one annual allowance, and 96 percent of those that offer such combined plans pay employees for unused balances when they leave the company.
Employers provide an average of 8.5 paid holidays per year, and require an average of about a year and a half of service before providing 10 days (two weeks) of paid vacation.
Almost all98 percentof respondents said they help pay for medical coverage for their employees. Employers said they pay an average of 92 percent of the cost of that coverage for their workers. Meanwhile, only 43 percent of respondents said they subsidize medical coverage costs for employees dependents. When they do, they pay about 81 percent of that cost.
The report includes extensive data on average hourly wages and salaries. Here is a sampling of average wages: full-charge bookkeeper, $13.66 per hour; graphic artist, $16.57; receptionist, $8.63; computer network senior engineer, $25.42; electronics assembly worker, $9.47; machinist, $17.92; teller, $10.03; and registered nurse, $20.48.
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