Kansas City, Kan.— The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported the unemployment rate at just over 8 percent as of May 2012. Though the unemployment rate seems to be slowly declining, pay increase budgets are idling. The 2012 Compensation Data Utilities survey results show pay increase budgets have remained relatively stable at 2.8 percent, compared to 2.7 percent reported in 2011 and 2.8 percent in 2010. Pay increase budgets are projected to slightly increase to 2.9 percent in 2013.
The recent volatility in the stock markets has once again shifted employees’ focus to retirement savings plans. While saving for the future is important, employees are questioning which options are the most beneficial. The 2011 Compensation Data Utilities survey results indicate that more than 82.4 percent of employees were enrolled in a defined contribution plan, compared to 2010 where that number was 80.5. More than 5 percent of utilities employers surveyed reported offering a defined benefit plan only, 25.7 percent offer a defined contribution plan only and more than 68 percent offer both.
With the costs of medical insurance regularly increasing, utilities organizations look to other means in order to control costs. According to the 2011 Compensation Data Utilities survey results, the most common of those options is coordination of benefits at nearly 94 percent. This option showed the largest increase, up from 88.2 percent in 2010.
Technology and the economy have changed the recruiting landscape for the utility industry. Based on the 2011 Compensation Data Utilities survey results, more organizations are using cash options as a recruitment tactic in the midst of a struggling economy. From 2010 to 2011, organizations offering raises more frequently during the first year increased from 7.5 percent to 10.6 percent.
Since the onset of the economic downturn, organizations across the country found their executive compensation packages placed under a magnifying glass and scrutinized at every turn. Now, average base rates are slowly recovering but fewer companies are offering perquisites to their highest-ranking employees. According to the Executive Compensation 2011/2012 survey results, 61.5 percent of organizations offer perquisites to their chief executive officers. That’s down from 77.6 percent in 2010.