Home News New Study: 81% of HR Professionals Say They Have Not Reduced Base Pay During the Pandemic

New Study: 81% of HR Professionals Say They Have Not Reduced Base Pay During the Pandemic

New Study: 81% of HR Professionals Say They Have Not Reduced Base Pay During the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic has battered the American economy, most firms have avoided cuts in workers’ base pay and benefits, according to a national survey of HR professionals conducted by MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

The overwhelming majority of survey respondents say that their companies have kept workers’ pay and benefits intact during the crisis:

  • 81% have not reduced base compensation, and
  • 89% have not reduced or eliminated benefits.

The results of HR in the Age of Workplace Uncertainty, an online survey of 757 HR professionals, also show that workplace stress and burnout have increased sharply during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has understandably put a great deal of pressure on the U.S. workforce,” said Frank Connolly, director of research at MindEdge Learning. “The survey shows that while stress levels are up, companies are trying hard to maintain base pay, and many are adding benefits that will help combat stress.”

Results indicate that 75% of respondents experienced an increase in employee burnout due to stress related to COVID-19. Slightly more than half (53%) report that their companies have introduced new benefits to help employees deal with stress, or plan to do so in the near future.

HR goes remote

Eighty-four percent of survey respondents are currently working remotely, and two-of-three companies (68%) are now conducting most HR operations remotely. A clear majority (58%) say their companies’ remote-work programs were a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine-out of-ten (88%) respondents say their companies are still hiring during the pandemic, though many (43%) are hiring at a lower rate than before. Overwhelmingly, respondents say that current applicant pools are better qualified compared to pre-pandemic candidates. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) say that there are more qualified individuals in their area looking for work than before COVID-19 – in large part because high unemployment means there are more experienced workers in the applicant pool.

A substantial number of HR professionals express reservations about having to recruit and onboard applicants remotely:

  • 35% say that remote recruiting is harder than in-person recruiting, and only 18% say that it is easier
  • 38% say that remote onboarding is harder than in-person onboarding, and only 9% say that it is easier
  • 25% say that remote interviews are less productive than in-person interviews, and only 14% say that they are more productive

“HR executives are tasked with creating a seamless remote work experience for their employees,” said Dr. Amy Dufrane, SPHR, CAE, CEO of HRCI. “Recruiting from an available applicant pool has expanded due to unemployment and the physical barriers have been removed due to more flexible remote working company policies. Likewise, hiring and remote onboarding processes have become more impersonal than before. As a result, it is more important now for professionals to invest in individual learning and certification to increase their marketability to potential future employers.”

A lack of training

While remote work has rapidly become the “new normal” during the pandemic, most companies have not actively prepared their employees to work from home. A majority of HR professionals (57%) say their companies do not provide training on how to work remotely.

Most companies, however, have managed to maintain a full range of employee benefits during the pandemic. Fully 88% of respondents say that their companies did not eliminate or reduce any employee benefits because of COVID-19.

Among those benefits that were curtailed, 401K matching was the most likely to have been reduced or eliminated – but only 8% of respondents report that their companies did so.

Stress and burnout are up, while company culture has mostly remained the same

Seventy-five percent of respondents have noticed a modest or major increase in employee burnout due to stress from COVID-19. A majority of respondents (53%) say their companies plan to offer their workers benefits to help them cope with stress – including 39% who say their companies have already introduced workplace benefits to reduce stress. Just under half (47%) say their companies do not plan to introduce these benefits.

Despite the rise in stress, 42% of HR professionals say their company culture has remained the same. A quarter (25%) say that company culture has grown weaker, while a similar proportion (23%) say that it has improved.


Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...