Worksite Planning

Current Economic Inflation Trends And Their Effect On Employee Compensation

67% of employers are very concerned rising inflation rates are eroding employee compensation

New survey data from reveals companies are planning the highest merit budget increases seen in years. To download the full report, click here.

WALTHAM, Mass., March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Rising inflation and its impact on compensation is a top concern among both employers and employees, according to new survey data from Sixty-seven percent of companies are “very concerned” and 31 percent are “somewhat concerned” about rising inflation rates eroding employee compensation. Employees are making their concerns known: 69 percent of companies say their employees have shared their concerns with their managers, HR, and leadership teams.

Companies are pulling various levers to offset compensation erosion. While only 19 percent have a separate budget for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) this year, almost half of the 1,000+ survey respondents have increased their merit budgets since their last compensation review cycle to combat both inflation and a tight labor market. In addition, half of respondents have adjusted their salary levels to reflect current market premiums. conducted the survey between February 25-March 7, 2022.

“Companies are investing in merit increases at the highest levels in recent memory,” said David Turetsky, Vice President of Consulting at “Most organizations (73%) are now targeting four percent or more of the payroll budget for merit increases, whereas just last fall, the majority were targeting three percent. This is a notable pivot, but time will tell if it’s enough to combat inflation levels that have soared to the highest point since 1982.”

Snapshot of Merit Budget Increases

Forty-six percent of employers have increased their merit budgets since their last compensation review cycle.

Snapshot of COLA Budgets

Nineteen percent of employers with a separate budget for COLA adjustments are funding it at much higher levels in 2022:

Salary Increases and Variable Pay

Fifty-one percent of companies have adjusted their salary levels to reflect current market premiums, with hourly employees and non-managers as the biggest beneficiaries. Only a quarter of employers are delivering more pay in the form of variable pay to offset the effects of inflation, with a third doing so in the form of sign-on bonuses and 25 percent doing so in the form of training and learning & development programs.

“Despite their best intentions, 80 percent of companies told us they don’t feel their efforts are helping them retain employees,” said Turetsky. “Thanks to these historic inflation rates, the Great Resignation may continue for a while longer.”




Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted between February 25-March 7, 2022, by There were 1,173 responses from organizations across the US. The survey collected data from seven different roles ranging from Executive to Individual Contributor. The results represent company sizes across five FTE size ranges
About is the leading provider of compensation market data, software, and analytics, bringing more of the trusted data and intuitive software organizations need to get pay right. The industry’s fastest-growing compensation management company, serves over 30,000 survey participant organizations, over 8,000 business-to-business software subscribers, and over 45 million employees globally. HR professionals rely on’s 360° view of their compensation practices so they can efficiently and accurately achieve internal pay equity and adapt to market changes.’s state-of-the-art CompAnalyst® accelerates compensation workflows, delivers real-time data, and powers accurate, equitable, and competitive compensation through one intuitive platform. For more information, please visit