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Most Americans Haven’t Had a Pay Raise in 3 Years

Even as inflationary pressures have risen, most people haven't seen a wage increase since the start of the pandemic, study shows.

By Kathryn Pomroy, Kiplinger Consumer News Service (TNS)

The average American employee hasn’t received a raise in three years, a new survey shows, reflecting the disconnect between rising inflationary pressures and wage growth. 

The survey of 2,000 American adults was conducted by OnePoll, an international market research agency, on Aug. 31, 2023. Participants were asked when they last received a pay raise. Only 4% said they had received a raise in 2023, 9% said they received a raise one year ago, 22% said it had been two years and 37% said it had been three years since they had received a raise. On average, the typical worker has not received a raise in 2.9 years. 

The same poll asked workers if they felt recognized at work. Of the respondents, only 37% said they feel “very recognized” at work, while 46% feel only “somewhat” recognized and 8% said they don’t feel recognized at all.  

When workers were asked about their current workplace concerns, they specified salary cuts as their biggest fear, followed by wage gaps and worker strikes. Gen Z workers were most concerned about nationwide strikes, while millennials cared more about cuts to their salary. Concerns about job security and wage gaps topped the list by Generation X and baby boomers. 

Pay gaps

The majority of workers, or 73% of all working adults, agree the gender wage gap is still very real. Nearly six in 10 working men believe their current salary is influenced by their gender (58%), compared to 54% of female employees.

Making changes

When it comes to making changes in the workplace, half of those surveyed believe speaking directly to management is the most effective way to pressure companies and bosses to improve work conditions and pay (51%). 

Beyond that, many believe that labor/union strikes (49%), filing a complaint with the human resources department (40%), or posting on social media (36%) could positively change workplace conditions.

When employees were asked if they belonged to a labor union, half said yes (43%), and half said no (43%). Of those who belong to a union, 93% said joining one was the best work-related decision they’d ever made.

In relation to worker strikes, 41% of respondents said they participated in a labor strike, while 47% said they had never done so. Of those who did, the reasons varied, from better work conditions and higher pay to better health insurance and benefits. 

When asked whether they would be in the same job at this time next year, only 26% said that scenario was “very likely.”


All contents copyright 2023 The Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.