Newton, Mass. — March 6
When polled about the proposed federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 per hour, many human resources professionals say they are against the idea, according to a new survey by Humetrics Inc., a research division of Deploy Solutions.
The survey gathered opinions from more than 1,000 HR and operations professionals, primarily in the retail, transportation, restaurant and health care industries.
Questions covered participants’ current starting pay for hourly employees, what influences current wages and how they would respond to a federally mandated increase.
“Our survey findings reveal many hidden ramifications,” said Mel Kleiman, Humetrics president. “For instance, how will this higher wage impact inflation? How will it affect jobs at the higher hourly levels or at the professional level? It appears that raising the minimum wage will push other salaries higher — companies will have to pay more for everyone they hire, not just the starting hourly staff. We may be underestimating the ripple effect.”
When asked if they were for or against raising the hourly wage, 47 percent said they were against it, while 31 percent approved.
Additionally, 16 percent said the minimum wage in their state was already higher than the proposed rate.
The reality of raising hourly pay surfaced when participants indicated how they would absorb an increase in costs.
More than 62 percent said they would raise prices, while 42 percent said they would reduce labor hours, and only 27 percent said they would take the hit on their bottom line.
About 18 percent said they would change their mix of part-time and full-time employees to compensate for the increased costs.
Respondents also foresee a “ripple effect” in pay structures resulting from a raise in hourly pay.
More than 45 percent think they will be forced to raise wages across the board, while only 13 percent think they could absorb the increase.
When asked how they determined starting wages for hourly employees, 53 percent of survey respondents marked the field “Whatever it takes to be competitive in the marketplace,” while 43 percent selected “What the job is worth.” Just 4 percent said they were “Willing to live with lots of turnover.”