In DC, a company pay cut could backfire on the boss

Many companies have opted for salary reductions instead of job cuts as a more equitable way to offset coronavirus-related revenue losses — but in the D.C. region, that could send a company’s best employees heading for the door.

According to staffing firm Robert Half, of those hiring managers in the D.C. area who have seen employees leave in recent months, 24% said it was a direct result of a pay cut or salary freeze.

For many, working from home during the pandemic has actually made it easier to keep a finger on the pulse of their respective career job opportunities.

“People are just now able to be a little more savvy when it comes to searching for jobs, being that they’re not in the office and their boss isn’t looking over their shoulders,” said Trey Bernette at Robert Half. “We are seeing right now that there are just very savvy jobseekers in Washington.”

While job losses and pay cuts have been brutal, they aren’t having an impact on all industries — especially professional service, white collar office-type jobs.

According to Robert Half, 85% of hiring managers at such businesses in the D.C. metro have maintained or even increased their compensation for new hires since the pandemic began. That is the most out of the 28 large cities where it conducted the interviews.

The vast majority — 96% — of managers in D.C. worry about losing their top talent.

“The main reason is because D.C. is such a competitive city, and transient at times,” Barnette said. “To keep that internal talent in this area, employers know they have to keep salaries the same or increase them.”

According to the firm’s survey, 34% are these days more likely to negotiate salary with new hires,  compared to one year ago.

The online survey was conducted from July 10 to Aug. 9 and included responses from more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with at least 20 employees in 28 U.S. cities.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up