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More Workers to See Pay Increase This Year

Almost 80% of managers expect to boost salaries in 2006
Richard Castellini, Senior Career Adviser for

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Is a new job or better paycheck on your list of New Year's resolutions? This may be the year to cash in on a bigger, better deal, according to a recent study by and America Online. The nationwide survey reveals companies plan to increase salaries on initial offers and raise compensation levels for existing employees.

In addition to pay trends for the new year, the survey, "Key Hiring Trends to Watch in 2006," also provides insights on employers' feelings on flexible work arrangements, the skills companies say will be most critical to their businesses in the coming year, and their plans to shorten hiring cycles, diversify their staffs and postpone retirements.

Here are the top hiring trends employers have identified for 2006:

1. Show Them the Money

What employers say: They plan to offer bigger paychecks. With the economy and job market expanding at a healthy pace and the labor force tightening, the competition for skilled employees is intensifying. Nearly 80 percent of managers expect to increase pay for their current staffs, and half expect to offer more generous compensation packages for new employees in 2006.

What you can do: Know your value. Check out online salary sites, industry Web sites and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the average salary for your position in your city. Whether you're applying for a new job or asking for a bump in pay, present your research along with career accomplishments to showcase your worth.

2. Rehire, Not Retire

What employers say: They'll be recruiting retirees. One-third of hiring managers expressed concern over a shortage of skilled workers and intellectual capital lost due to the large segment of Baby Boomers approaching retirement. An even greater number -- 45 percent -- expect to recruit retirees from other companies or offer incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to extend their employment at their organizations.

What you can do: If you would like to put off your retirement, inform your supervisor and other departments within your organization. Network with colleagues, vendors, family, friends and community members to identify potential full-time and part-time opportunities.

3. Vive la Difference

What employers say: The workforce needs diversifying. Recognizing the positive impact workforce diversity has on business performance, one-in-ten hiring managers predict diverse candidates will comprise 50 percent or more of their new hires in 2006; one-third expect diverse candidates to comprise 25 percent or more of their new hires. The two most popular diverse workforce segments hiring managers plan to target are women and Hispanics; 19 percent will be recruiting women more aggressively while 10 percent will be more focused on recruiting Hispanic workers.

What you can do: Failing to market yourself as a diverse candidate can work against you. Highlight your diverse background and how your unique perspective and skills contributed to the success of previous employers in your application and during interviews.

4. Nine-to-Five is Out... Sort Of

What employers say: Flexible work styles are OK. To encourage recruitment and retention of employees, 48 percent of hiring managers say they are willing to provide more flexible work arrangements such as job sharing and alternate schedules in 2006. More than one-fourth of hiring managers say they will be more willing to allow employees to telecommute given rising energy costs.

What you can do: Earn the right and present your case. List your professional contributions, explain why you need a flexible work arrangement and propose a schedule that lays out how you will be able to perform effectively.

5. It's a Sprint

What employers say: Hiring cycles are getting shorter. Employers are expediting the hiring process, and the road to a new job will be a quick and competitive one this year. While the vast majority of hiring managers report they are filling their open positions within six weeks, 42 percent say they will hasten the hiring process in 2006 in the face of increased competition for top performers. One-in-four hiring managers will shorten the recruitment process by two weeks or more and one-in-ten will shorten it by three weeks or more.

What you can do: Act quickly. Check newspaper classifieds and online job postings on and AOL Find a Job regularly. You can apply to positions in real time, post up to five different versions of your resume and sign up for automatic job alerts.

7. Get in Critical Condition

What employers say: Critical skills are a must. One-third of hiring managers report they will be placing a greater emphasis on recruiting bilingual employees.The top five skills hiring managers say will be most critical to their businesses and most attractive in potential candidates in 2006 are:
    1. Customer service 2. Critical thinking (problem-solving and decision-making) 3. Technology proficiency 4. Ability to improve productivity 5. Team-building and motivation
What you can do: Employers often use electronic scanning devices that search resumes for keywords that match their job requirements. Include these critical skills and other keywords in your resume and cover letter as they apply to your experience to show your relevancy.

Philadelphia Sweetening the Deal on Job Offers, San Francisco Raising the Bar on Raises, New York Ripe for Retirees, Atlanta Bending the Rules on Schedules, Boston in the Market For Women Workers

The and America Online "Key Hiring Trends to Watch in 2006" survey also revealed hiring trends for the top 10 markets. While Boston ranked No. 1 for the number of hiring managers planning to increase salaries for existing employees, Philadelphia took the lead in the number of hiring managers planning to increase salaries on initial offers for new employees.

Top markets with the largest number of employers planning to increase salaries on initial offers: Philadelphia: 62 percent Boston: 58 percent San Francisco: 57 percent

Top markets with employers planning to give bigger paychecks to existing employees: Boston: 83 percent Washington D.C.: 83 percent Los Angeles: 82 percent

Top markets with employers planning to provide existing staff with pay increase of 5 percent or more: San Francisco: 26 percent New York: 25 percent Washington D.C.: 24 percent

Top markets where women will be recruited most aggressively: Boston: 26 percent New York: 24 percent Los Angeles: 23 percent

Top markets focusing on retiree retention and rehiring: New York: 64 percent Boston: 54 percent Philadelphia: 54 percent

Top markets with employers planning to provide more flexible work arrangements: Atlanta: 53 percent New York: 53 percent Washington D.C.: 51 percent

Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM

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