Korn Ferry Survey of Retailers Shows Retention Tactics for In-Demand Tech Workers

Survey Also Reveals How Retailers are Preparing for Pay Transparency Legislation

Los Angeles, May 19, 2022 – Amid a surging technology talent worker shortage, a new Korn Ferry survey shows retailers are taking several measures to retain workers with tech skills.

According to those surveyed, top retention tactics include providing market adjustments for the most competitive jobs, providing salary adjustments to the majority of tech employees, giving larger merit budgets in the most recent cycle, providing retention bonuses or combination of all of the tactics. 

“Just about every aspect of the retail industry calls for some type of technology skills, and employers have to be creative about attracting and retaining employees who can fulfill those needs,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner and retail expert Craig Rowley. “And while this survey shows how retailers are tackling the issue using compensation tactics, other means are being used, such as strong company culture and work flexibility.”

The survey also examines what actions retailers have already taken or will take to respond to New York City’s proposed pay transparency law. More than a quarter (26%) say they have determined an approach but will wait until New York City implements the law; 21% indicate that they will implement their approach soon; and 10% say they are already disclosing pay ranges in job postings.

In terms of the type of information they plan to disclose, 25% say they will post the current salary range (e.g. minimum to maximum); 20% will post a portion of the current salary range (minimum to midpoint); and 18% will post the anticipated pay range (e.g. lowest to highest).

Nearly one-quarter (24%) of respondents say they will not proactively adjust pay for employees who are paid low or below the hiring range. About one-fifth (21%) say they will not communicate their pay transparency policies, and 40% will only communicate the policy when asked.

“Pay transparency is an issue that needs to be well planned, in terms of how it is designed, implemented and communicated,” said Rowley. “Even if the law doesn’t come into effect for several months, compensation teams should be working on an effective strategy now to ensure they are prepared.”

About the Korn Ferry Survey: The survey of 175 retailer professionals from 90 companies with revenues from $500 million to more than $25 billion took place in late April 2022.


Survey Responses

Given challenges with tech talent, what are you doing to retain these employees?

Provided larger merit budget in most recent merit cycle                   6%

Provided market adjustments to majority of employees                    12%

Provided market adjustments to most competitive jobs                     20%

Provided retention bonuses                                                                5%

Combination of the above                                                                  36%

Other/N/A                                                                                            21%


NYC is discussing changing or postponing its pay transparency law. What actions are you taking?

Already disclosing in job postings                                                       10%

Have determined approach and will implement in the near future    21%

Have determined approach but will wait until NYC acts                    26%

Have not determined approach                                                          18%

N/A no employees in NYC                                                                 25%


What information are you planning to post to comply with NYC pay transparency rules?

Current salary range (e.g. min. to max.)                                            25%

A portion of current salary range (e.g. min. to midpoint)                    20%

Current actual employee pay (low to high)                                         3%

Anticipated pay range (lowest to highest)                                          18%

Varies based on open position                                                           6%

N/A                                                                                                      28%


What compensation elements will you be using in your job postings?

Salary only                                                                                          60%

Salary + short-term incentives                                                            9%

Salary + short-term incentives +LTI                                                   3%

N/A                                                                                                      28%


As a result of publishing your hiring rates, are you going to proactively adjust pay for employees that are paid low or below the hiring range

No                                                                                                       24%

Yes, only for employees below range minimum                                38%

Yes, only for strong performers at low end of range                          3%

N/A                                                                                                      36%


Is your company going to communicate its approach to the pay transparency law?

No                                                                                                       21%

Yes, only when requested                                                                  40%

Yes, proactively                                                                                  10%

N/A                                                                                                      29%


Given inflation, are you having discussions about merit budgets for 2023?

No/not yet                                                                                           80%

Yes, 3% or less                                                                                   11%

Yes, 3.5%                                                                                              6%

Yes, 4%                                                                                                 1%

Yes, 5%                                                                                                 1%

N/A                                                                                                        1%


Are you having trouble hiring store employees?

Yes, significant challenges                                                                 20%

Yes, moderate challenges                                                                  59%

Yes, minor challenges                                                                        18%

No                                                                                                          3%


Are you planning to increase your start rate in 2022?

No                                                                                                          7%

Yes, already have                                                                               38%

Yes, planning to increase later in the year                                         23%

Still discussing                                                                                    27%

Other                                                                                                    5%


Are you having problems hiring distribution center employees?

Yes, significant challenges                                                                 12%

Yes, moderate challenges                                                                  58%

Yes, minor challenges                                                                        23%

No                                                                                                       6%

N/A                                                                                                      2%


About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

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