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August 20, 1999 

Council survey: New York employers still worry about shortage of skilled workers;
Published results show many employers are innovating in recruiting and compensation

New York employers remain deeply concerned about the availability of skilled workers, and increased competition for workers is prompting employers to innovate both in recruiting methods and employment incentives, a recent employer survey sponsored by The Business Council shows.

The survey was conducted by Compdata Surveys of Kansas City, the survey company with the nation's largest data base on pay and benefits. Survey results have been published in Compensation Data - New York 1999, which was to be released today.

Companies of all sizes, in all regions, and in all sectors except agriculture and retail stores were surveyed. More than 61 percent said they advertise job openings on the Internet; 32 percent said they use the Internet to search for qualified applicants.

The survey also showed that more employers are offering signing bonuses, higher starting salaries, more frequent first-year raises, longevity bonuses, and improved vacation benefits.

The Council has sponsored the survey annually to get information on pay, benefits, and related issues for New York employers. The survey is the largest of its kind in the state, with data from hundreds of organizations on more than 259,000 employees in New York, according to Theresa Worman, client relations manager for Compdata Surveys.

"For a long time, New York State employers have needed a comprehensive statewide compensation and benefits survey, and this one fills that bill," said Tom Minnick, manager of The Council's Center for Human Resources. "This survey addresses key issues that our members often call our Human Resources Hotline to discuss."

Compensation Data - New York 1999 focuses on compensation levels for 415 job titles. The 580-page book includes sections on benefits, pay practices, and current issues, including innovations in recruitment and retention.

Information on compensation for jobs is reported by region, employer size, and industry sector. For all job titles, the sample size is reported.

"Recruiting and retention are dominant issues facing New York employers," Worman said. "With unemployment at sustained low levels, and turnover rates reaching new highs, employees have more control over their destiny."

The survey showed the following turnover rates: all industries, 14.6 percent; utilities, 3 percent; real estate/construction, 8.3 percent.; not-for-profit, 9.8 percent; manufacturing, 11.4 percent; distribution/warehousing, 19.1 percent; services, 20.5 percent; financial services, 21.8 percent; health care, 22.2 percent; other, 16.2 percent.

Worman said employers must understand that the Internet can provide valuable information not only for them but also for candidates eager to negotiate the best possible compensation. She noted that candidates and employees sometimes come to interviews and evaluations with information on what other companies pay employees in similar jobs.

"Employers should prepare by collecting their own information and developing creative perks and benefits to make jobs attractive," she said.

For example, many New York employers offer incentives such as sign-on bonuses to attract new workers; 26.3 percent of respondents say they offer sign-on bonuses. The same percentage of respondents say they have increased the starting pay rates for new employees.

The survey also shows that 8.8 percent of respondents are offering more first-year raises; 8 percent of respondents grant bonuses for employees who stay a certain length of time, and 10.2 percent offer extra vacation time.

Compensation Data - New York 1999 is available for $499 with major discounts for employers that agree to submit data in next year's survey. Business Council members who participated in the survey received a $250 discount on this year's book. For information or to order, visit compdatasurvey.com or call Compdata Surveys at 1/800-300-9570; Tom Minnick, manager of the Human Resources Hotline at The Business Council, at 800/332-2117; or Ellen Fobare at The Business Council Service Corporation at 800/445-2023.