Survey: Employees Support Performance Pay

Performance pay is prevalent in some industries and among certain professions. According to a new survey, approximately a third of U.S. respondents currently fall into those categories with 40% indicating they would be more productive if some of their earnings were linked to performance outcomes.

There is widespread support for performance-based pay among employees in the United States, with nearly a third of respondents to an annual survey indicating their employment is compensated through a variable pay arrangement, and many others saying they would become more productive if they were.

According to the latest findings from the Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI), a total of 32 percent of U.S. respondents have their pay connected to some form of performance or productivity targets. The annual survey, conducted by Kelly Services, analyzed responses from more than 120,000 respondents in 31 countries, including nearly 12,000 in the United States.
Among those not on performance-based pay, 40 percent say they would be more productive if they had their earnings linked to performance/productivity outcomes.

Steve Armstrong, Senior Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Operations for Kelly Services said the trend reflects widespread recognition that organizations and individuals are most productive when their interests, including incentive-based pay, are aligned.

“There are many employees who are clearly confident in their ability to perform their jobs well, and they want the opportunity to be compensated according to their performance,” Armstrong said.

Results of the survey in the U.S also show:

– When asked to choose between pay for overtime worked, or pay-for-performance, respondents are almost evenly split, with 45 percent preferring pay-for-performance, and 49 percent choosing paid overtime.

– Less than half (39 percent) of those surveyed agree that their current pay is equitable.

– Among professional and technical employees, the highest rates of performance-based pay are in sales (68 percent), and marketing (44 percent). The lowest are in education (21 percent) and science (28 percent).

Workers Ready to Be on the Move

Workforce surveys are seemingly available on an almost daily basis. A new one from Kelly Services offers some interesting perspectives from workers on career paths and opportunties for growth.

Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) surveyed as part of the Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) believe that in order to develop their skills and advance their careers, it is more important to change employers, rather than remain with their existing employer.

The KGWI examines issues of job mobility and career progression as part of a shift to a more autonomous and empowered workforce. The survey reflects a changing attitude from workers, with more seeking to gain new experiences and skills with multiple employers. Nearly 170,000 people in 30 countries participated in the survey.

In spite of the lingering uncertainty in the economy, more than half (62 percent) say that if they did change jobs, they would be in a good position to negotiate a similar or better position.

"We are seeing a shifting attitude on the part of employees who are increasingly embracing the idea of working for multiple employers as a way to gain a wider array of work experience and advance their careers," said Kristin Supancich, Vice President and General Manager of Canadian Operations for Kelly Services.

The survey shows that the idea of a career-for-life with one employer is regarded as important by 38 percent of workers, and those with professional and technical skills are less attracted to the career-for-life (37 percent) proposition compared to other workers (41 percent).

"Employers face the reality that even happy workers are actively planning for the next step in their career and that many are seeing the advantages of employment experiences with a more diverse range of organizations," Supancich said. "Employers need to consider ways to improve their development and engagement programs so that employees think twice before switching employers."