How to Compete (And Win) With World-Renowned Companies for Non-Exempt Workers

January 30, 2019 Dave Owen

Chances are your organization is feeling the impact of some of the world’s leading companies opening sites in close proximity to your storefronts or warehouses, and the resulting attempts to recruit your non-exempt employees by offering above-market wages.

We’ve noticed a growing trend among our clients who call us and say, “A large e-commerce giant is moving into our town or city. We need to find out what they’re paying non-exempt and hourly workers so we can stay competitive.”

Sound familiar? If that’s a challenge you’re facing as well, you’re not alone. The competition for talent continues to be fierce, especially for a sometimes neglected segment of the employee population that deserves your attention: non-exempt and hourly workers.

Who Are You Competing With?

Workers who are non-exempt or hourly have a tendency to change jobs and are more likely to switch career fields so long as their skills are transferable and they can remain within a reasonable commuting distance. For example, a manufacturing machine operator may take a warehouse shipping/receiving job or a restaurant worker may leave to take a position in retail.

Our data tells us that even a 25- or 30-cent increase per hour for hourly workers could entice them to switch jobs. And some larger corporations entice employees with $2, $3 or even $5 per hour pay increases, many times pushing these workers over the edge and into the arms of your competitors. This is why it’s imperative to understand the competitiveness of the local landscape and be able to adjust your pay accordingly.

This phenomenon of competing directly with “the big guys” on a micro-market level is having a serious impact on a myriad of industries and sectors — ranging from manufacturing to retail to distribution and beyond. Typically, the skills that non-exempt workers need to perform jobs is common across these types of industries, which makes it easier for them to traverse across sectors. In turn, that creates the need for you to understand wage trends not just in your industry, but across all industries, given that your local competitors could be ones you may not have thought of. Doing so will help you better understand who you are ultimately competing with for talent in your local market.

How to Fight Back With Data

At the beginning of a new year, it’s helpful to level-set your needs by assessing where your organization stands with attracting and retaining talent. We recommend answering the following questions as part of that exercise:

  • How did you fare with recruiting and retaining non-exempt workers this past year?
  • How did your projected forecast of seasonal employees work out? Were you above or below where you needed to be?
  • Did you pay more than you should have or, on the other hand, did you struggle to find help because your pay wasn’t competitive enough?
  • What are you doing now to identify and fill these gaps so your process is more streamlined moving forward?

To answer some of these questions you need access to the most up-to-date micro-market data that drills deep into local area wages. You'll notice in Figure 1 below that by using Aon’s Micro-Market Pay Analyzer (MPA), you can plug in the locations  you want data on and see which companies have posted jobs for that labor market, the number of open positions and how much pay they’re offering.

Figure 1

Scope Out the Local Competition

Once you have the right data, you can start to create the pay strategy you need to attract or retain non-exempt and hourly employees. As long as you’re armed with data and knowledge, you can speak intelligently when asked by job candidates or internal employees about your pay rate. For instance, if a manager comes to you and says, “We are losing people as they are paying $1 more an hour at Company X down the street,” you can confidently say, “From what we see for that role, Company X is offering the same wage we are. Perhaps there’s a different reason people are leaving?”

Having the right data allows you to understand if the pay strategy you’ve set is competitive, or if there is another core problem driving turnover at your company.

Next Steps

Ready to gain access to the precise micro-market salary data you need to retain your non-exempt and hourly employees? Precision benchmarking for non-exempt and hourly employees is easier and more cost-effective with Aon’s Micro-Market Pay Analyzer (MPA).

To understand where you stand, you need to be able to visualize the data, like you can in Figure 2. Now you can easily see where your organization stands relative to the market and pinpoint the locales where you most urgently need to adjust pay.

Figure 2

Compare Pay Data Within a Local Market

To get a demo of Micro-Market Pay Analyzer or speak with one of our experts, please contact us now.

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