CFOs see need for more raises, promotions

Promoting top workers and awarding pay increases are the top steps CFOs are taking to retain employees, according to a new survey.

Nearly 80% of US CFOs say they are taking measures to improve employee retention as the economy recovers, according to a survey by staffing firm Accountemps.

Retention is a concern in other parts of the world as well. A recent Robert Half survey of CFOs in Australia and New Zealand showed that 89% were concerned about losing their top employees.

CFOs realise that talented workers have more options, and they understand that the cost to replace an employee can be steep – sometimes 25% of the employee’s salary – and time-consuming.

In response, CFOs are upping the ante to hold on to staff.

Sixty-three per cent say they are promoting top performers, and 52% say they are increasing salaries. The other strategies, in order of selection by more than 2,200 CFOs in the US survey: increasing investment in professional development or training (50%), enhancing employee benefits (48%), and reinstating or increasing bonuses (32%).

“Businesses can lose their competitive edge if they don’t have key players in place as new growth opportunities arise,” Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps, said in a news release. “Employers who aren’t actively engaging with their best people and providing competitive salaries risk losing them to other offers.”

Driscoll also advised organisations to regularly evaluate compensation levels relative to competition and, when possible, to pay slightly more than those norms.

In the Australia and New Zealand survey, almost two-thirds of CFOs said they planned to give pay increases to finance employees this year. But retention is not about money alone. Andrew Brushfield, a Robert Half director, said in a news release that some employees are looking elsewhere for better work/life balance.

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Report: Investment in Talent Leads to Faster Revenue, Profit Growth”: Organisations with strong leadership and talent-management practices can increase revenue 2.2 times faster than those with weak talent development, research indicates.

Employee Loyalty Is a Rare Commodity”: Employee loyalty is an increasingly rare commodity, according to research by the American Management Association. And while companies recognise the consequences for their businesses, such as low morale and increased absenteeism, tackling the trend is not a major focus for the majority of organisations.

Neil Amato ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.