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Wouldn't surprise me if 20% of all employers surveyed frequently promoted people already paid well over the standard rate for their new "bigger, higher level" job. That's pretty close to the exact percentage who admitted promoting without pay increases. It also doesn't say that those new promotees don't get proportionately larger increases in their next round. Many a company will promote someone on a trial basis, making them an "acting whatever," while withholding any "permanent" pay adjustment until they have passed their Peter Principle test, after which the temporary assignment becomes officially permanent. Perhaps the promotional bump is deferred or melded into the overall merit increase. It could also reflect a "last person standing" syndrome in which survivors of staff reductions are eager & willing to accept a new bigger hybrid post rather than risk a layoff.

Or it could reflect a meaner, more parsimonius and less generous "new reality."

Jim:

All real possible scenarios, I would agree - including the meaner, less generous reality that I have treated as default here.

Guess promotions, like so many other things, just ain't what they used to be...

This recent finding is probably time sensitive as pointed out by Jim's last sentence with the "last person standing" syndrome. Based on our work with clients, the number of employees pushing for higher pay adjustments and promotions is down compared to the pre-recession time period. This employer favored approach works for the short-term but it will have a negative effect on employee motivation and retention if prolonged beyond the economic recovery. The article covered in this week's Workspan out of the New York Times shows that employers' are spending more on equipment and software than their employees during the post recovery period, a 26% and 2% respective increase. Employees should begin to reap the benefits of the economic recovery once demand exceeds supply. This statement may not be totally true if the new equipment and software purchases are meant to reduce or replace employee labor.

Nice post Ann - thanks for sharing the research from OfficeTeam! One area I have had success with Client companies is using validated values assessments to uncover how strongly certain individuals are motivated by money. Promoting an employee that is highly motivated by money, but not increasing their compensation is never a long term recipe for success.

I have included your post in my Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2011/06/the-rainmaker-fab-five-blog-picks-of-the-week-3.html) to share this research and your thoughts on "work as reward" with my readers.

Be well!

Good points, Blair. So much of it does hinge on demand and supply - especially as employer needs for talent change over time, demanding higher knowledge and additional skill investment by the workforce. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

Thanks, Chris - always cool to be featured in your 'Fab Five'!

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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