Only Half Of U.S. Employees Think They Are Paid Fairly Compared To Counterparts

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Just over half of U.S. employees believe they are being paid fairly compared with workers who hold similar jobs either at their own or other companies, according to the 2016 Global Workforce Study by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. At the same time, a companion survey of U.S. employers found that barely half of them have a formal process in place to ensure compensation fairness, an indication that employers have significant room for improvement.

The Global Workforce Study, a survey of 31,000 employees worldwide including 3,105 from the U.S., found that while 53% of employees believe they are being paid fairly compared with others in similar roles in other companies, 24% disagreed. Likewise, 55% of respondents feel they are paid fairly compared with people in their organization who hold similar jobs, but 22% disagree.

"Pay equity is rapidly becoming a high priority for employers, especially with base pay continuing to be the most frequently cited reason employees choose to join or leave an organization," said Laura Sejen, managing director, Talent and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson. "For employers, there is much at stake and also room for improvement. Employees' perception that they are paid fairly is closely linked to their engagement, which, in turn, drives overall productivity and, ultimately, financial performance."

So far, many employers have not laid the ground work to ensure employees are paid fairly. The 2016 Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, a survey of more than 2,000 companies globally, including 441 from the U.S., found only half of employers (52%) have a formal process in place to ensure fairness in compensation distribution.

The Global Workforce Study also measured whether employees understand how their base pay is determined and how their total compensation stacks up compared with others. Only about two-thirds of employees (65%) say they understand how their salary is determined, and less than four in 10 employees say they understand how their total compensation compares with that of the typical employee in their organization (39%) and with the typical employee in other companies (34%). When organizations begin to report on the CEO pay ratio and the pay of the median employee, these employees will not have the context to properly interpret those numbers. 

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