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Salary Trends For 2022: Numbers to Know In A Tight Labor Market


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Many U.S. workers feel overdue for a pay raise, new research from talent solutions firm Robert Half shows. According to the just-released 2022 Salary Guide, companies will need to enhance their compensation strategy, or they risk losing top talent to competing offers. 

Following are five key trends for employers to note:

1. Employees feel underpaid. Nearly half of workers (49 percent) think they’re earning less than they deserve. Gen Z professionals (57 percent) and women (52 percent) are most likely to feel shortchanged. (View the full results by age and gender and for 28 U.S. cities.)

2. Workers may walk without a raise. Nearly 1 in 3 employees (31 percent) would consider quitting their job if they don’t get a pay bump by year’s end. Working parents (36 percent) and respondents ages 18 to 24 (48 percent) are most likely to make a career move if their salary doesn’t grow.

3. Salaries are rising. Starting compensation for U.S. professional occupations is expected to increase 3.8 percent overall in 2022. Roles in strong demand, such as revenue cycle analyst and database administrator, may see even bigger gains. In addition, 48 percent of employers are offering signing bonuses to entice new hires.

4. Compensation for remote staff varies. When recruiting for open roles, 6 in 10 managers will first look locally and then outside their city if it takes too long to find skilled candidates; 18 percent are searching anywhere from the start given the talent shortage. Companies hiring remote workers are setting their pay by: 

  • Employer’s office location: 62 percent 
  • Employee’s location: 38 percent

5. Candidates are considering the full package. When weighing job offers, it’s not all about the money. Workers most covet:

  • Flexible work schedules: 66 percent 
  • Remote work options: 56 percent 
  • Employee discounts: 37 percent

“Job openings are at a record high, and workers with in-demand skills have more negotiating power,” says Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “In this tight labor market, increasing salaries is table stakes for employers. Companies must regularly revisit pay ranges and discuss career paths with employees to align on expectations.”

McDonald added, “While salary prospects are brighter for 2022, professionals should always do their research before asking for a raise or jumping for an opportunity with higher pay. Many factors contribute to job satisfaction, such as advancement opportunities and schedule flexibility, so it’s important to consider the full picture before making a move.”

Looking for further insight into the current employee experience? Check out Threats to Employee Wellbeing Intensify as Pandemic Wears On and 6 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining the Best Employees By Creating a Well Culture.

About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.