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Hall wage report shows growing fortunes for workers
Chamber survey indicates most local companies aim to raise pay
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Phillip Young, an assembly technician, works on an eviscerator at Marel Stork Poultry Processing Inc. in Gainesville last Nov. 17. A survey by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce showed a large majority of local companies planned to raise worker wages this year. - photo by Erin O. Smith

2016 Wage and Benefit Report

• 88 percent of companies surveyed plan to give a wage or benefit increase, with the average at about 3 percent

• Fewer medical premium increases this year

• More benefits to attract workers, including employee assistance, tuition and gym memberships

• Less than 10 percent of workers are temporary employees

Source: Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce

The good news for local workers is that 88 percent of companies surveyed for an annual report say they intend to give wage and benefit increases this year, with the average at around 3 percent.

In turn, that helps “local employers stay competitive with each other,” said Shelley Davis, vice president of existing industry with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s annual wage and benefit report reflects local trends in manufacturing, human resources and administration, finance and other professional jobs.

More than half of the 72 companies polled are in the production of food, metals, chemicals and other resources.

The report “provides employers and their human resource managers a rare benchmark of employer sponsored benefit programs like insurance coverage, wellness programs, 401K programs and vacation leave practices,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the only source for local market benefits data from a broad sampling of manufacturing and non-manufacturing employers.”

While the results give companies insight into their competitors, they spell the best fortune for workers.

Davis said wage increases have come in the past two years to many local workers, with everything from cost-of-living adjustments to one-time bonuses to permanent salary hikes.

And lately, it has also meant that companies are offering better benefits, such as lower health care premiums or gym memberships, to attract and retain workers.

Davis said medical benefit increases will likely slow this year.

“Hopefully, that tide has turned,” she added.

The report is even a resource for local governments, such as Hall County, that are looking to adjust their own pay scales to both retain and recruit workers.

“Depending on the position, you can’t just isolate yourself to look only at government because you’re essentially competing with other industries and businesses,” said Bill Moats, Hall County human resources director. “For example, government isn’t unique to a position like an accountant. There may me some tasks and responsibilities that are unique to government, but our labor pool would span both public and private industry and business.”

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