Don’t Write Off Salary Adjustments Yet! - American Society of Employers - Jason Rowe

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Don’t Write Off Salary Adjustments Yet!

merit increaseThe Coronavirus pandemic has caused many uncertainties in the workplace, and salary budgets are an especially crucial area of concern for many organizations. ASE’s recently released 2020/2021 Salary Budget Survey reveals how employers are responding to this ever-changing market.

171 Michigan employers participated in this year’s survey, and 57% have already determined and/or executed their 2020 salary adjustment programs. That figure plummets to just 8% for 2021, however, the majority of organizations (53%) have yet to actively discuss salary adjustment options and likely will not make a determination until the end of the fiscal year.

Of those employers who have determined what their 2020 programs will look like, only 54% have actually implemented salary adjustments, while 36% have chosen instead to freeze wages. Excluding those organizations that have opted to freeze wages, the average increase looks surprisingly similar to past years and ranges from 2.8% to 3.3% with a median of 3.0%. 2021 projections are also showing signs of normalcy with standard merit increases ranging from 2.8% to 3.2% with a median of 3.0%.

WorldatWork’s nation-wide annual Salary Budget Survey reveals that, like Michigan, salary increase budgets are still in play, albeit smaller than past years. The country’s salary budget increase average fell 0.4 percentage points to 2.9% in 2020 due in part to many organizations implementing a wage freeze.

While the future during a global pandemic remains to be seen, there is a glimmer of hope that salary adjustments won’t fall by the wayside, giving both employers and employees some much needed peace-of-mind heading into the new year.

ASE members are eligible to download the results of the 2020/2021 Salary Budget Survey at no cost from the ASE Dashboard.  Non-members interested in obtaining copies of the results should contact Jason Rowe at


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