Organizations Report Fewer and Smaller Promotions During Economic Downturn

Jan. 12, 2011 — Washington — With the underfunded salary budgets of recent years, a promotion may be the only way employees can earn pay raises. Yet even those are fewer and smaller, according to the “Promotional Guidelines” survey recently released by WorldatWork. The survey of 720 U.S. organizations found that, overall, respondents report an average of 8.1% of the employee population receive promotions in a typical year down to 7% in the most recent survey.

The average size of promotion has declined as well, though one employee group is feeling the pinch a bit more. While all employee groups — nonexempt, exempt, officers/executives —saw declines in their average promotional increases, officers/executives saw the biggest decline from 11.4% in 2005 to 9.5% in 2010.

The most influential factors in determining the amount of the increase are the pay range of the new position (66%), the rates paid to other employees in similar positions (60%) and external pay data (36%).

“A perceived lack of opportunity for career advancement and promotion can be demoralizing, especially to top performers,” said Kerry Chou, CCP, CBP, GRP, a senior practice leader with WorldatWork. “Our study shows that organizations continue to plan for promotions and many even proactively budget for it separately from other pay increase budgets. Organizations ought to communicate and raise the visibility of promotions as one of the key elements of their total rewards packages.”

About the Survey:
WorldatWork collected survey data from September 15 to October 1, 2010. There are 720 responses in the final dataset. Survey respondents are WorldatWork members employed in the HR, compensation and benefits departments of mostly large U.S. organizations; 71% are from private sector and 29% are from public sector and not-for-profit. To view the video, visit To view the slide show, visit

This press release was distributed through PR Web by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.