Salaries 10 Years Post-Recession


Entry-Level Workers See Real-Wage Declines While Mid-Level and Senior-Level Professionals See Slight Real-Wage Growth, According to Korn Ferry Analysis

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13, 2018 – On average, it’s been a tough decade wage-wise for Americans who are at lower-levels in organizations, while mid-level and senior-level employees have experienced slight real-wage growth. That according to a new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) analysis of U.S. employee pay data, which shows distinct pay increase differences in the 10 years since the start of the Great Recession.

For the analysis of inflation-adjusted wage growth from 2008 to 2018, researchers looked at data from more than 5.5 million U.S. employees in nearly 2,000 companies in a wide range of industries.

The study found that adjusted for inflation, clerical or entry-level professionals make on average 2.3 percent less today than they did in 2008. As professionals move up the corporate ladder, however, their wage prospects have become slightly brighter. When adjusted for inflation, mid-level professionals make 2.4 percent more today than they did in 2008, and senior managers make approximately 5.7 percent more on average today than they did in 2008.

Adjusted for Inflation Wage Growth 2008-2018

Level2008 Wages2018 WagesPercent Change
Clerical/Entry-Level Professional  $46,886$45,882-2.3 percent
Mid-Level Professional$83,310$85,332+2.4 percent
Senior Manager$151,594$160,292+5.7 percent

“Even though we’ve seen significant growth in the economy since the recession, salaries have barely kept up with inflation, and in the case of lower-level employees, we have actually seen real-wage decreases since 2008,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Tom McMullen. “While there are only slight increases for mid-level professionals and senior managers, we do see higher wage growth for those levels due to the demand for specialized, skilled employees.”

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance. We work with organizations to design their structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people to bring their strategy to life. And we advise them on how to reward, develop, and motivate their people.

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