BY YASEMIN SALIH
The fluctuation in the exchange rate and increasing inflation created the expectation for 2022 wage hikes for all employees. Human resources management company Mercer and the People Management Association of Turkey (PERYON), who conducted extensive research on wage increases for 2022, revealed the moves being made by companies in changing economic conditions. The two institutions renewed their research after the new gross minimum wage was announced. Many companies took immediate action following the minimum wage announcement, according to Mercer Turkey CEO Dincer Guleyin.
Guleyin stated that the average wage increase expectation for 2022 for the 673 companies surveyed stood at 32%. However, this will change with the annual inflation figure, which was announced on Monday. “Our monthly surveys show that companies tend to raise wages a few percentage points above the annual inflation rate. I predict that the same trend will take place given the last annual inflation figure. Considering that the annual inflation rate was announced as 36.08 percent in December, companies will increase wages in the 36-40% band,” he said.
The tendency of companies to ensure their employees against inflation is somewhat compulsory, according to Gurleyin. “The talent that will enable the transformation from this difficult period has come to the fore. There is a resignation craze in Turkey and the world. 55% of people said the reason they resigned was due to wages. The next biggest reason cited – 27% – was occupational burnout. Companies that are aware of the fact that the necessary transformation and difficult process spurred by the pandemic cannot be overcome without these talents cannot ignore [these employees’] needs,” said Gurleyin.
Pay increase periods to increase
The sectors with the highest wage increase budget are the chemistry, energy, logistics, and retail sectors, averaging 35%, according to the survey. 32% of companies that participated in the research made an extra raise in 2021, Gurleyin noted. “14% of companies say they plan to make an additional hike. In other words, 46% of companies have made a move against the economic developments of 2021 or are considering making it.”
The survey also revealed a changing trend in pay rises. 58% of those who made additional hikes included it in the 2021 budget. However, 15% shifted this additional increase from the 2022 budget. This shift will not affect the 2022 hike rate, according to Gurleyin. “If this economic climate becomes permanent, companies have to look after the needs of their employees. Increases could happen several times a year, as in the 1990s. Some companies are considering this.”
The blue-collar raise will be higher
There is no difference in the wage approach of local and foreign companies, according to Gurleyin. A relatively higher increase was observed in the blue-collar wages as compared to white-collar wages in the survey. “The average increase rate predicted by companies employing blue-collar workers was 35% after the announcement of the new minimum wage. However, this will increase with the announcement of the inflation rate,” he said.
Half of the companies surveyed reported that they will reflect the increase in the gross minimum wage across all salary bands. However, another 35% of the companies stated that this difference will be only be reflected on those who receive salaries close to the newly formed minimum wage. “Rising inflation and the rising cost of living have caused some companies to reconsider their payroll periods as well,” Gurleyin said.
Fringe benefits are more critical than ever
Fringe benefits have become more critical than ever and companies that focus on this will be able to preserve their talent pool, Gurleyin added. “A large number of companies said that they did not change their fringe benefit policies. However, a significant number of them adopted additional practices during the flexible working period such as the payment of internet bills, the payment of heating and cooling systems, office equipment support, or bonus payments. 30% of companies said that they increased payment for food,” he said.