Employers plan pay raises

By Pete Bach. Originally printed in the Appleton Post Crescent, October 14, 2008

Outdoor equipment maker Ariens is developing a merit raise package as 2009 approaches.

"We're working on it right now," Todd Swanson, Ariens' corporate vice president of administration, said last week. "We're also hiring, so that's another part of the equation."

In determining criteria for dishing out the boosts, Brillion-based Ariens is running on a parallel track with the 2008-2009 Fox Valley Wage & Benefit study conducted by the Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition. (Chambers of commerce from the Fox Cities, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Fond du Lac).

In the survey, with more than 190 companies responding, the broad majority expect to give raises of 2 percent to 4 percent next year.

And, of those, most in the annual survey project raises averaging 3 percent to 4 percent.

"We don't usually give out the numbers, but that's probably the kind of range we're looking at as well," said Swanson. "It's approximately the same as we gave out last year."

Mary Felton, vice president of human resources for Tidi Products, a Neenah maker of health care products employing 225, said it's too early to say if raises are on the horizon.

"We haven't set our budget yet," she said. "We're still evaluating what we're going to do."

In the survey, the following percentage of companies responded that they expect to give wage increases between 3 percent and 4 percent for 2009 as follows: 37.5 percent for union positions; 49.4 percent for hourly positions; 50.5 percent for salaried exempt positions and 42.6 for salaried, non-exempt positions.

Wages were reported for more than 300 positions.

The methodology employed in the survey produces some overlaps, but the coalition said it nonetheless offers firms a chance to see how they measure up against competition. It can also be used to recruit prospects.

The benefit piece of the survey is found on a separate Web-based system.

For more information, businesses can contact Kathy Coopman Voigt or Susan Vanden Heuvel at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Appleton, at 920-734-7101. The survey can be obtained by e-mail through information@ foxcitieschamber.com and typing "wage survey" into the subject line.

Survey available
For information on the 2008-2009 Fox Valley Wage & Benefit study, contact the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry at 920-734-7101 or via e-mail at information@ foxcitieschamber.com and typing "wage survey" into the subject line.

Pete Bach: 920-993-1000, ext. 430, or pbach@postcrescent.com