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Stocks climb but Compensation, it's the Dickens

As stocks took a positive climb early this week and then ended with a nosedive on the New York Stock Exchange upon reports of growing troubles in the Ukraine. Regardless of market conditions, most people can remember fondly Charles Dickens' haunting 1843 tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is the iconic miserly businessman who hates Christmas, despises the poor and only allows his overworked, underpaid clerk to have the holiday off with pay so that he will appear politically correct.

 New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 13, 2014 , traders look up
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Scrooge is visited by Marley, the ghost of his business partner who died seven years earlier and who was forever cursed to wander the earth dragging a network of heavy chains, forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness.

Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits that night, and that Scrooge must listen to them or be cursed to carry chains of his own. Once Marley departs, Scrooge is beset upon by other restless spirits who now wish they could help their fellow man, but are powerless to do so. Scrooge is then visited by the three spirits Marley spoke of who accompany him on visits to various Christmas scenes.

Whether you are the member of a corporate board, governance committee, a CEO, CFO, CHRO or senior executive responsible for company operations, you already know that the very subject of Compensation can be the Dickens! With ghosts of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377/S. 84), the Affordable Care Act and Fair Minimum Wage Act, lingering in the corridors of compensation, your best bet is to stay informed and be prepared for 2015.

Organizations are racing to accelerate growth in the competitive and rapidly changing world of work. Resources such as innovative and strategic compensation workshops that combine outside trends, workforce strategy insight, and labor market expertise are essential to the creation and maintenance of sound, yet attractive pay strategies.

Top companies must consistently deliver measurable results that align business strategies with dynamic workforce demands. Competition demands the support of a platform to ensure their current and future workforce can successfully execute their business strategy. Best in class models and approaches for sustained performance results in a challenging economy are critical to understanding what key research reveals about the future of your pay strategy.

The Spirit of Compensation "Yet to Come" is just around the corner with a hopeful glint of positive outcomes for those who heed the warnings that rattle like chains of the past.

Each year since 2009, PayScale has conducted a survey of compensation best practices to take a look at what transpired in the year just ended and predict trends for the upcoming year. The good news in this year’s survey results points toward more encouraging economic signs than previously reported in recent years as companies are growing in size and offering raises to current employees. The report however states that "Optimism comes along with a good dose of caution as most companies lack sufficient business insight to know what to pay to effectively attract and retain the right people. With the
more competitive economy of 2014, companies will be challenged to balance growth with smart decisions about how to compensate talent."

U.S. workers can expect a median base salary increase of 3 percent in 2015 across all main employee categories and most industries, still below pre-recession levels, according to separate research findings by pay consultancy Hay Group and WorldatWork, an association of total rewards professionals.

The limited growth indicates no major change in the degree of upward pressure on wages—for now.

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Learn more about the PayScale Compensation Survey and how your organization can prepare for the spirit of 2015:

  • Mercer Pay raises for US employees continue to grow steadily, new Mercer study finds 08 August 2014
  • PayScale, Human Capital
  • ComplianceOnline: Compensation Strategies - Paycheck Fairness Act: Be Prepared for 2015
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