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).

Coach Duncan, We’re Ready to Play

We shared some of President Obama’s encouraging education words in this space on Wednesday. In follow-up calls with reporters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan says his vision for education reform includes a few selected states in a "race to the top."

The criteria: not settling for the status quo, being willing to adopt existing reforms and offering a few new ideas. Specific proposals will be sought later. Performance pay for teachers, expanded charter schools and longer school days/years will undoubtedly be part of the mix.

Sounds like a program that progressive states — those wanting to make sure their young people and their workplaces of the future are competitive — need to sign up for. Here’s one vote for Indiana to answer the call.

The Detroit Free Press account of Duncan’s message notes that Michigan has been in a "race to the bottom." Indiana has made some progress, but probably been stuck in neutral too long. Again, if the action lives up to the promise, Indiana needs to be in the game.

Obama Speaks on Education: Will the Actions Match the Words?

President Obama marked his 50th day in office Tuesday with his first major address on education. To the surprise of some, and the relief of many who fall in the reform camp, Obama offered the following:

  • Support for performance pay: "too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroon."
  • Removing underperforming educators: "if a teacher is given a chance but still does not improve, there is no excuse for that person to continue teaching. I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences."
  • Strong support for charter schools (urging states to remove charter caps) and calling for longer school days and school years.

Not all the words were welcome. There was no real mention of standards and there were hints at additional programs and spending, not necessarily solutions.

The real question: What’s next? How will the education community react? Will this generate momentum or cause reform opponents to dig in deeper?

The Fordham Institute offers some quick analysis. The Chamber’s current BizVoice magazine provides a look at K-12 education closer to home with an interview with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and a roundtable discussion on the key topics of the day.