If you look hard enough, you can find some good news on credit union compensation trends. But you have to look pretty hard.
“It would have been nice to see a spike in hiring, but at least downsizing appears to have leveled off,” says Beth Soltis, CUNA’s senior research analyst, regarding the findings of CUNA’s 2012-2013 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey. “It isn’t surprising that credit unions are waiting for a sustained economic recovery before increasing their fixed expenses by hiring.”
Credit unions are slowly starting to loosen the purse strings. “A higher percentage of credit unions provided pay increases in 2011 and even more budgeted for salary increases in 2012,” says Soltis. “It’s another good sign that fewer credit unions froze salaries in 2011, and even fewer expect to freeze salaries in 2012.”
♦ Turnover will increase in the next decade as overworked staff move on and baby boomers retire.
♦ Pay increases probably won’t return to pre-2008 levels for most positions in the foreseeable future.
♦ Board focus: To motivate staff, encourage the use of variable pay and rewards for employees who meet member-service goals.
Other highlights from this year’s just-released salary survey include:
► Pay levels, in terms of pay increases or even dollars spent on variable pay, won’t be bouncing back to pre-2008 levels for most positions any time soon. Employers are likely to pay a premium for highly sought-after skills that are in short supply in the labor pool. To attract and retain talent, organizations will have to focus on intangibles, such as career development, flexible schedules, and “best place to work” practices.
► Credit unions that encourage and recognize employees’ efforts to serve members tend to be the ones with the highest employee-engagement levels and are known locally as desirable places to work.
While they might not be able to increase salaries dramatically in this economy, “credit unions can attract and retain employees by tapping into the philanthropic spirit, which helps credit unions compete for top talent without adding to expenses,” says Soltis.
CUNA’s salary survey finds employee morale still reeling from the recession. The past few years have seen stagnant wage growth coupled with increasing workloads. That’s a recipe for employee dissatisfaction and burnout. As the economy improves, employees will feel emboldened to look for greener pastures, and turnover is likely to increase.
“Many employers are reporting lower levels of employee job satisfaction and employee engagement,” says Soltis. “Dissatisfied, stressed employees will seek job opportunities elsewhere when hiring picks up.
“Retirements also will increase turnover in the near future. As a result of the economic downturn, many older workers put off retirement to rebuild their nest eggs.
“As finances improve,” she adds, “these workers will start to leave the workforce. And increased turnover will push up compensation as employers compete for talent. As a result, effective retention and recruitment efforts will become even more important.”
An organization’s success depends on its ability to retain and recruit skilled, high-performing employees. This, however, will become increasingly difficult in the years ahead, notes Compensation Resources Inc.
Organizations that regularly analyze the competitiveness of their compensation plans are the most likely to attract and keep top talent, says Soltis.
NEXT: Signs of Thaw