Raises are still scarce, but perks are making a comeback as employers look for other ways to retain -- and attract -- top employees.Don't hold your breath for that raise just yet. Pay hikes are still scarce in this economy, according to a new survey by Accountemps, a firm that provides temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping services. But that doesn't mean that you can't improve your compensation in some other way.

To retain top employees and attract new ones, U.S. companies are increasingly turning to perks such as subsidized training and flexible work conditions rather than raises, Accountemps has found. A division of Robert Half International (RHI), Accountemps surveyed more than 1,400 chief financial officers from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 employees or more.

Asked which perks their companies would offer to attract and retain employees in 2011, 29% of respondents answered subsidized training and education, 24% named flexible work hours or telecommuting and another 24% cited mentoring programs. Matching-gift programs were mentioned by 13% of respondents, while 11% listed free or subsidized meals, and another 11% cited on-site perks like child care, dry cleaning and fitness centers.

A Cost-Effective Strategy

The findings echo the conclusions of a December report by Robert Half International, which surveyed human-resource managers. Half of the managers surveyed said they would be willing to negotiate greater perks for a promising candidate. They saw the perks as cost-effective, with the ability to spur innovation and improve employee morale, productivity and loyalty, according to the report.

Why are perks making a comeback? Bill Driscoll, Northeastern district president for Robert Half International, says it's partly because "companies have been very frugal as it relates to raises. Employees have been taking pay cuts. Although these benefits are not financial, it makes employees feel better about their job, makes them want to stay with their company."

Educational benefits are especially attractive to today's "constantly changing workforce," Driscoll says, as well as mentoring programs, which he considers another form of training. "Many employees are always looking for ways to be more competitive and develop their skill sets." Employees also value flexible business hours and the ability to telecommute, he adds.

Some employers worry that employees might leave their jobs once their education is paid for. Although that's indeed a danger, Driscoll claims that the risk is worth taking. Education and other perks "build loyalty to the organization, improve morale," he says.

Looking for Other Means of Compensation

At a time when the "cradle-to-grave" mentality is long gone, perks have become a key tool to entice employees to stay with a company, Driscoll adds. "That's the main way to hold employees, to create an environment where they feel really good about the organization they work for. If companies invest in them, they tend to give more of themselves. They want to be with an organization like that."

Karen Sumberg, senior vice president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York think tank focused on workplace issues, says her group's research mirrors Accountemps's latest findings. The center, she says, has been "hearing quite a bit in our research that Gen Y and baby boomers are looking for other ways to be compensated besides money."

Perks can help employees advance and stay engaged -- especially in the U.S., where work is an important place for people, she adds. "In general, the workforce is moving to people wanting more autonomy over their time," she says. "They're also looking for ways to better themselves [and] build connections through mentoring."

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Who would want a raise anyway when you could have a flexible work time?
Employers have Employees over a barrel for the near future and the far future.
Offcourse this is popular with the working people what else would they say?

March 17 2011 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have never really liked unions. The only times I've delt with them, is when they are trying to save someone's job that actually needed to be fired in the first place.To many times people get paid a certain amount of money for doing a job because that is the pay scale or pay rate. To me this is B.S. you can not tell me if you have 100 people on a job doing the same job that all 100 people are worth being paid the same amount of money. I know some will do more work in the same amount of time, some will do a better job, as far as having less issues with what they do. Some people out of that 100 won't care that they work the slowest, some won't care if what they do lasts or not. Today I hear that employees at Locheed may go on strike, as they arn't getting as big of a pay increase as they thought WTF. Things being the way they are, they ought to be happy having a job. Thank their lucky stars the co. doesn't want them all to take a pay cut. THATS what I HATE about UNIONS, NO MATTER HOW GOOD they have it they ALWAYS WANT MORE

March 06 2011 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yes this a true and accurate article as i can affirm its truth.
here goes case in point: do you want to use your employee
discount on your fries and coke?

March 05 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

jobs will not come back until the government gets really smaller, taxes get really simpler and fairer and markets are free. ............ as long as there is a trillion dollar national debt, as long as The Fed is printing and diluting our dollar and manipulating stock prices, gold prices and interest rates, and as long as both parties in Congress are social engineering via the tax code, things will not...cannot improve....it's that simple!

March 05 2011 at 7:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Perks of all kinds for the private sector, which are corporate deductions. In the meantime, curse the public sector employees.

March 04 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Linda Hales

Perks will not pay a mortgage. Compensation is the bedrock of progress.

March 04 2011 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

Jerry Brown is going to have pension funds turned into 401ks for State employees.. The sh*t hit the fan and he's finally seeing the light.. Companies need to stay competitive on a world wide field now and pay may not be going up in order to stay in the ring. As other countries people's rise in pay as well, this will start to even out but that may take generations. In the mean time because the private sector is making less, then the government employees who "serve" them, have to make the same adjustments.. Sorry, the party's over.. And Wisconsin is going to lead the way.. Unions you are done here.

March 04 2011 at 4:23 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to piscesbaby36's comment


March 04 2011 at 5:25 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

For those still trying to find a job (much less worry about pay increases or perks), there is help for you. Check out www.startnowcareers.com

March 04 2011 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Perks are coming back? The recession was over in 2009? The real estate market is bouncing back? Why does the media continue to play us for fools? Thats my question. Do they think they can just say these things and that makes it all better? They are so detached from the reality of things!

March 04 2011 at 2:28 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TERRY's comment

they tell us these things because it has worked for many,many years
and yes we are the most gullible people on the face of the earth.
most of us will believe anything if it is said on TV by a news
reporter or by a movie star, most who cant even run their own life.

March 05 2011 at 10:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

RECOVERY ??--WHERE ?? LESS UN-EMPLOYED ? BULLSHIT !!! STOCK MARKET COMEBACK?/ LOOK AT TODAY !!!! THE ONLY TRUTH IS THAT GAS IS OVER $ 4.00 a gallon---again--people are still losing their homes at a tremendous rate---banks DO NOT HELP !!!!!

who is our government trying to fool ?? HELEN KELLER PASSED AWAY LONG TIME AGO !!

March 04 2011 at 2:28 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply