Mercer Database Helps Employers with Comp Decisions

September 10, 2009 ( - With the 2009 US Mercer Benchmark Database organizations can assess changes in the composition of the workforce and create competitive pay offerings to retain their top talent, the company says.

The 2009 US Mercer Benchmark Database provides base pay, incentive pay and total compensation for more than 1,000 positions, according to a press release. Its newest feature – MBDspan – includes year-over-year comparisons by position and reports market movement, trends, and employment indicators with Mercer perspective.

The database consists of nine modules with positions in 16 functional areas, including administration, communication, corporate affairs, customer service, finance engineering, knowledge management, human resources, information technology, marketing manufacturing, quality, research and development, sales, supply and logistics, and top management. For each position, the database provides statistical summaries for base salary, short-term incentives, total cash compensation (base pay plus short-term incentives), pay ranges, and short- and long-term incentive eligibility and valuation.

“Many companies are still struggling with cost-containment challenges and are budgeting compensation accordingly,” said Susan Haberman, Mercer’s US leader for information product solutions, in the press release. “Since pay for similar employee groups is becoming less consistent across the board, it’s crucial that companies make comparisons among relevant industry groups to maximize their investments. Falling too far behind the market in pay can significantly increase the risk of losing top talent when the economy turns around.”

The modules are available individually or as a single, cross-functional database. To order the 2009 US Mercer Benchmark Database, visit , or call 800-333-3070.

According to analysis of MBDspan, staffing levels are shifting among employee groups and industries. For example, the para-professional employee group (office/clerical/technician jobs) was most affected by changes in staffing, with a decrease in these positions of 68%, Mercer said in a press release. Across all employee groups, the high-tech industry was most affected by staffing level changes, experiencing a decline of 56% compared to a decrease of 30% in the energy/mining industry.

As a result of changes in staffing levels, salary levels are becoming more widespread among industries, Mercer said. While salary increases are conservative overall, review of MBDspan shows the energy/mining and health care industries as having the greatest range in percentage change in base salary at or above the median for the professional employee group. Industries with the lowest span of change include utilities, manufacturing, and finance.