Use Benchmark Compensation Data to Better Recruit and Retain Employees

May 17, 2022
Press Release
Compensation Planning
Read time: 3 mins


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Kathryn Klopfer, Marketing Communications & PR Manager
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Use Benchmark Compensation Data to Better Recruit and Retain Employees

MILWAUKEE, WI (May 17, 2022) – MRA’s 2022 Benchmark Compensation Survey shows base pay is just one part of the equation an organization can use to keep its employees satisfied and invested. MRA recommends having a competitive and detailed total rewards package to impact overall employee satisfaction, engagement, and commitment to an organization. MRA’s Benchmark Compensation Survey is an annual evaluation of salaries, surveying 551 jobs by 1,368 participating organizations.

“It’s not a benefit if the employee doesn’t think it is a benefit,” said Jim Morgan, Vice President, Business Development & Workforce Strategies at MRA. “Today, companies are reevaluating their total rewards package in a more employee-centric environment. When you consider what your individual employees want or need, that gives you a huge advantage in recruiting and retaining talent.”

Many organizations are still reporting problems filling open positions—specifically, skilled office/clerical and technical positions. Recruiting is difficult in this market, with potential employees having many options in their job search. There are many ways to recruit and no right or wrong way to attract talent; however, MRA recommends organizations have a standardized recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process in place.

In addition, employee retention challenges have affected many organizations. MRA’s most recent Turnover Survey shows the average turnover rate for an organization was 25.4 percent across all employee groups—an increase from 2020’s 21.2 percent average. Employee turnover can cause a domino effect, leading to increased workload of the remaining employees, which can lead to a decline in culture, morale, and overall performance—and even more turnover.

Total compensation plays a significant factor in an employee’s commitment to their employers, according to MRA. Organizations are increasing starting wages, adding in additional incentives, and differentiating benefits in an attempt to retain employees.

According to the survey, some of the most common types of employee bonuses are:

  • Annual bonus
  • Holiday bonus
  • Sign-on bonus
  • Referral bonus
  • Retention bonus

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. Employers need people right now, and bonuses and pay increases provide immediate employee gratification,” Morgan said. He cautioned that this could cause problems down the road with wage compression and paying over market rate.

The biggest takeaway from the Benchmark Compensation Survey, according to MRA Survey Specialist Brittany Rittershaus, was that in 2021 over half of organizations gave an increase to employees’ base salaries over 4 percent. According to MRA’s CompTrends Survey, which was conducted in the fall of 2021, typically base salary increases averaged 3 percent; however, overall, most companies ended up going above that increase.

MRA suggests employers remember their employees. Each business has different goals, values, and culture that can play into how they handle their merit or pay increases, or bonuses, but there is one thing every organization has: employees. It is up to employers to take action early and ensure they put the time and effort to prevent top talent from leaving.

Rittershaus added: “Using data from the Benchmark Compensation Survey can help set up an organization for success with their employees.”

MRA’s 2022 Benchmark Compensation Survey included 1,368 participating organizations and surveyed 551 jobs for base salary percent increases, providing more than 50,000 data points on employee compensation research. The survey was conducted from January to March 2022.

To obtain a copy of MRA’s full 2022 Benchmark Compensation Survey, contact the Surveys team at 800.488.4845 ext. 3508.

About MRA—The Management Association: Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves 4,000 employers, covering more than 1 million employees worldwide. As one of the largest employer associations in the nation, MRA helps its members thrive by offering comprehensive HR services, talent management, learning and organization development opportunities, and total rewards planning. MRA helps organizations build a successful workplace and powerful workforce. Headquartered in Wisconsin, MRA has regional offices in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. To learn more about MRA, visit