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Post-Recession Comp Packages on the Rise for New Executive Hires

The average pay increase executives received when changing jobs has improved since the recession but has yet to return to the levels reached in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

November 16, 2012
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Philadelphia — Nov. 14

The average pay increase executives received when changing jobs has improved since the recession but has yet to return to the levels reached in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to a recent study by retained executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group.

Since 2010, senior executives moving to new companies received an average jump in total compensation of more than 16 percent, not close to the nearly 25 percent increase they enjoyed during the boom years of 2006 and 2007.

The firm, which places executives in senior-level roles at corporations and nonprofits, analyzed compensation data from every senior executive placement during the last six years.

Salveson Stetson Group’s analysis revealed a 56 percent reduction in the total pay increases executives received when switching companies in 2008 and 2009, versus the increases they could have reasonably expected in the years leading up to the meltdown.

In its study of more than 175 senior executive hires, Salveson Stetson Group reported that:

1. The market for talent was extremely hot leading up to the financial crisis, raising salary expectations of senior executives nationwide. From 2006 to 2007, executives switching jobs received an average compensation increase of 24.96 percent.

2. Total compensation increases dropped dramatically during the recession. The average compensation increase offered to new executive hires from 2008 to 2009 dropped to 11 percent as companies tightened their belts on hiring and made the most out of existing staff.

3. Post-recession salaries have recovered but not to pre-recession levels. Since 2010, executives have received, on average, a 16.56 percent compensation increase when they switched jobs, an improvement from the increases of 2008 and 2009 but still a 34 percent decrease from pre-recession levels.

Source: Salveson Stetson Group

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