Most Employers Support Raising Minimum Wage

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By Genevieve Douglas

Sept. 17 — Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of employers believe the minimum wage should be increased in their state, up from 62 percent last year, according to a survey released Sept. 15 by CareerBuilder.

At the same time, nearly one in five workers (19 percent) told CareerBuilder they couldn’t make ends meet every month in the last year, and those who hold or have held minimum wage jobs were much more prone to experience financial difficulties.

“Americans’ wages have been stuck in a slow-growth pattern since the recession,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a press release announcing the survey results. “As big name brands take measures to increase pay for minimum wage workers and the market overall grows more competitive for skilled labor, employers are going to start feeling more wage pressure when trying to attract and retain employees at all levels within the organization.”

The national online survey, conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll between May 14 and June 3, included a representative sample of 2,321 full-time hiring and human resources managers and 3,039 full-time workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

According to the survey, about one-quarter (26 percent) of employers said they plan to hire minimum wage workers this year. Still, only 6 percent of all employers surveyed said they believe the federal minimum wage—$7.25 per hour—is fair. The majority (61 percent) felt a fair minimum wage is $10 or more per hour, up from 54 percent who favored that wage last year; and 11 percent said a fair minimum wage is $15 or more per hour, up from 7 percent last year, CareerBuilder said.

Wages, Benefits and HR

For some employers, however, raising wages may not be an option to help employees. At those companies, HR can play a role in the dialogue between management and employees, Haefner told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail Sept. 16.

“While employers are not always able to raise wages, many have found ways to offer additional perks or benefits that can help employees who are struggling,” she said. For example, Haefner recommended, employers can offer financial counseling as part of their retirement savings package or look into local perks like movie ticket discounts or local deals with restaurants.

“At the end of the day, HR wants to be a partner with employees, so listening to their needs and trying to tailor benefits goes a long way,” Haefner said.

Of workers who currently have a minimum-wage job or have previously held one, some two-thirds (65 percent) said they were struggling financially, and 49 percent said they had to work more than one job, according to the survey.

It's not just minimum wage workers who are struggling, the survey found. About two-thirds (65 percent) of all the surveyed workers said they are in debt, and 16 percent of workers ages 25 to 34 still live with their parents. Moreover, 18 percent of employees reduced their 401(k) contribution and/or personal savings in the last year, the survey found, and 28 percent do not set aside any savings each month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at