Benefit Cuts Still Planned for 2010

December 29, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Even as companies look forward to growth opportunities in the new year, many are still choosing to trim perks and benefits, according to CareerBuilder’s 2010 Job Forecast.

Thirty-seven percent of employers say they will cut perks and benefits in 2010, up from 32% who said they trimmed in 2009. Perks and benefits employers plan to trim in the new year include bonuses, medical coverage, 401(k) matching contributions, and office perks such as coffee, tea, and condiments, according to a press release.

Even as companies continue to watch their spending, they still plan slight increases to salaries in the coming year. Fifty-seven percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees in 2010, down from 65% in 2009. Thirty-six percent expect to raise salaries of existing employees by 3% or more, while 11% anticipate increases of 5% or more.

Twenty-nine percent of employers plan to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees, down from 33% in 2009. Nearly one-in-five (18%) employers will raise salaries on initial offers by 3% or more while 7% anticipate increases of 5% or more.

Companies also plan to continue providing employees with greater flexibility. Thirty-five percent of employers say they plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2010, compared to 31% last year.

Arrangements employers plan to offer, according to the press release, include:

  • Alternate schedules – come in early and leave early or come in later and leave later – 73%;
  • Telecommuting options – 41%;
  • Compressed workweeks – work the same hours, but in fewer days – 32%;
  • Summer hours – 18%;
  • Job sharing – 13%; and
  • Sabbaticals – 6%.

 

Companies understand the intellectual capital mature workers bring to their organization and 27% say they are open to retaining their workers who are approaching retirement. Sixteen percent say they are likely to rehire retirees from other companies in 2010, and one-in-ten are likely to provide incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to stay on with the company longer.

At the same time, workers have expressed interest in postponing retirement. Thirty percent of employers report they have received requests from workers approaching retirement age to stay on with their company, up from 22% last year.

CareerBuilder also found that close to four-in-ten employers (37%) plan to put a greater emphasis on social media in 2010 to create a more positive brand for their organization. One-in-five employers plan to add social media responsibilities to a current employee, while 8% plan to hire someone new to focus or partially focus on social media.

Hiring Expectations Increase

Employers are beginning to consider hiring strategies designed to preserve the health and growth of their businesses for the future, according to CareerBuilder’s 2010 Job Forecast.

Thirty-seven percent of employers say they plan to replace lower-performing employees with higher-performers in 2010, according to a press release.

Twenty percent of employers plan to increase their number of full-time, permanent employees in 2010, up from 14% in 2009. Nine percent say they plan to decrease headcount in 2010, down sharply from 16% in 2009. Sixty-one percent don’t plan to change staff levels, while 10% say they are unsure.

Eleven percent of employers say they plan to add part-time employees in 2010, up slightly from 9% in 2009. Eight percent say they plan to decrease their part-time help in 2010, down from 14% in 2009. Sixty-nine percent plan no change in part-time headcount, while 13% are unsure.

Three-in-ten employers anticipate hiring freelancers or contractors in 2010, up slightly from 28% in 2009. Six percent expect to employ more freelance workers or contractors than last year, while 15% expect to hire the same amount and 10% plan to hire fewer.

Four-in-ten employers say they were forced to lay off workers in the past year, and among those who had lay-offs in 2009, 32% now say they plan to bring back workers, with three-in-ten either doing it now or planning to do so in the first six months of 2010.

By region, nearly one-quarter of employers (24%) in the West say they plan to add full-time workers in 2010, compared to 21% in the Northeast, 20% in the South and 16% in the Midwest. While plans to decrease headcounts in 2010 are down sharply across all regions, employers in the Northeast still plan to trim headcounts by 10%, followed by an 8% decrease in the South, Midwest, and West.

By industry, 32% of IT, 27% of manufacturing, and 23% of financial services employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2010, followed by 22% of employers in professional and business services and 21% in sales. Twenty-one percent of health care employers are also planning to expand staffs, as are 18% of transportation employers and 15% of retail employers.

When asked in which areas they plan to hire in 2010, one-third of respondents pointed to technology followed by 28% who cited customer service. Nearly one-quarter (23%) plan to add sales people, 18% will add research/development staff, 17% business development, 15% accounting/finance, and 14% marketing.

CareerBuilder surveyed 2,720 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide across industries between November 5 and November 23, 2009.

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