Wage Compression Threatens Companies as Turnover Soars, Warns Expert

wage compression threatens companies as turnover soars warns expert.jpg Business

As the U.S. grapples with a labor shortage triggered by the mass exodus from the workforce during the pandemic, employers are offering attractive packages to lure new hires. However, this strategy has inadvertently led to a crippling issue known as wage compression, which is silently eating away at the foundations of companies, according to Jason Greer, founder of St. Louis-based labor management and employee relations firm Greer Consulting, Inc.

Wage compression, as explained by Greer, occurs when the wages of long-serving employees fail to keep pace with market demands, while new hires are paid the going rate. This discrepancy is breeding resentment within companies, with many oblivious to its destructive effects. The scenario of a decade-long employee, whose wage rate is capped due to their tenure, training a new hire who earns significantly more, is causing widespread discontent. This growing dissatisfaction is threatening to destabilize workplaces, leading to a toxic environment and a loss of trust in company leadership.

The Silent Killer: Wage Compression Threatens US Companies Amid Tight Labor Market

The labor market in the United States has been under significant pressure due to the mass exodus of workers during the pandemic. As companies scramble to fill these vacancies, they have resorted to offering lucrative wage packages to attract new hires. However, this strategy has given rise to a new issue known as wage compression, a factor that is silently tearing apart companies, warns labor management expert, Jason Greer.

Who is Jason Greer?

Jason Greer, also known as "the Employee Whisperer", is the founder of St. Louis-based labor management and employee relations firm, Greer Consulting, Inc. He assists organizations of varying sizes, from small and medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 giants like Nike, and even major employers like the U.S. Army.

Wage Compression: A Silent Threat

According to Greer, wage compression, a phenomenon where long-term employees’ wages lag behind market demands while new hires receive the current market rate, is fostering resentment and damaging companies from within. He illustrates this issue with a scenario where a decade-long employee, who has dedicated time and effort into the company, is being paid less than a new hire for the same job, breeding resentment and mistrust.

The Impact on Workplace Dynamics

The resentment born from wage compression can create a toxic work environment. Greer points out that long-term employees, feeling undervalued and overlooked, may direct their frustrations at better-compensated new hires. This tension often leads to new employees leaving the company, further exacerbating the labor shortage.

This issue also significantly undermines employees’ trust in their company. The perceived unfairness and lack of recognition for long-serving employees can lead to a surge in unionization drives, as workers seek external assistance to negotiate their rights.

The Financial Consequences

Wage compression has serious financial implications for companies, primarily through increased turnover. The cost of replacing new hires – from interviewing to onboarding – is substantial, but the most significant loss is the departure of long-tenured employees who are often the backbone of their respective departments. These employees, even if not in managerial positions, are often trusted sources of guidance and hold valuable institutional knowledge that leaves with them.


In conclusion, wage compression, if not addressed, could have severe repercussions for companies. It’s not just an issue of fairness, but also a matter of strategic importance for companies to retain their long-tenured employees who often hold invaluable institutional knowledge. Companies need to reassess their wage policies to ensure that they are fair and sustainable in the long run, thereby fostering a more harmonious and productive work environment.

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