Majority of Employers Want Minimum Wage Increase
By Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer
A major economic issue in the spotlight due to the upcoming midterm elections is the debate over minimum wage. Proponents of a minimum wage increase say it will give a boost to the economy and consumer spending, while opponents believe it will weaken job growth because companies won't be able to hire as many workers.
While voters will have to wait to cast their ballot on the issue for a few more weeks, many employers are already voting "yes" for minimum wage increases, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. The survey found that 62 percent of employers think the minimum wage in their state should be increased, including 58 percent of company senior leaders.
Interestingly, employers currently hiring minimum wage workers are more likely to support a minimum wage increase than those who are not by an 11-point margin (70 percent vs. 59 percent).Finding a fair wage
While many employers support an increase in the minimum wage, they have varying opinions as to what the new wage should be, with some rallying behind not having a set number. While just 7 percent think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more would be fair, 48 percent think a reasonable minimum wage should be set between $10 and $14 per hour.
- $7.25 per hour (current federal minimum): 8 percent
- $8.00 or $9.00 per hour: 29 percent
- $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
- $11.00-$14.00 per hour: 19 percent
- $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
- No set minimum wage: 9 percent
Employers advocating for a wage hike give the following reasons for their support:
- It can improve the standard of living: 74 percent
- It can have a positive effect on employee retention: 58 percent
- It can help bolster economy: 55 percent
- It can increase consumer spending: 53 percent
- Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work: 48 percent
- It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education: 39 percent
- It can cause employers to hire less people: 66 percent
- It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by: 65 percent
- It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs: 62 percent
- It can mean potential layoffs: 50 percent
- It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers: 32 percent
- Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues: 29 percent
Industries most impacted by minimum wage
Twenty-seven percent of employers are hiring minimum wage workers in 2014, including 51 percent of retailers and 58 percent of leisure and hospitality firms.
The percentage of employers in specific industries favoring minimum wage increases in their state:
- Retail – 68 percent
- Information technology – 67 percent
- Health care – 65 percent
- Leisure and hospitality – 60 percent
- Professional and business services – 59 percent
- Financial services – 54 percent
- Manufacturing – 52 percent
A separate sample found that 79 percent of full-time, non-management-level employees have worked in a minimum wage job in the past or are currently in a minimum wage job. Of these workers, 59 percent were not or are not able to make ends meet financially. That may have some influence on why recent national polls have shown support for increases among voters at large, and this survey shows that many businesses are right there with them.