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62 Percent Of Employers Think Minimum Wage Should Be Increased

Minimum wage remains one of the nation's top socioeconomic and political issues. All major industries surveyed support a minimum wage hike, according to new survey.

– 55 percent of employers think a fair minimum wage is at least $10 per hour or more; 1 in 10 don’t think a minimum wage should be set

– 53 percent of employers say a higher wage would increase consumer spending

– All major industries surveyed support a minimum wage hike, including retail and hospitality

cabWith state, local, and midterm elections just five weeks away, the minimum wage remains one of the nation’s top socioeconomic and political issues. Recent national polls have shown support for minimum wage increases among voters at large, and according to a new CareerBuilder survey, many businesses are right there with them.

The survey found that a strong majority of employers (62 percent) think the minimum wage in their state should be increased, including 58 percent of company senior leaders.     

The nationwide survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6, included a representative sample of 2,188 full-time hiring and human resource managers and 3,372 full-time workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

What is a fair minimum wage?
While most employers would like to see a hike in their state, only 7 percent think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more would be fair. Nine percent don’t think there should be a set minimum wage. Nearly half (48 percent) think a fair minimum wage should be set between $10 and $14 per hour.  

  • $7.25 per hour (current federal minimum): 8 percent  
  • $8.00 or $9.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $11.00-$14.00 per hour: 19 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
  • No set minimum wage: 9 percent

Why do employers say the minimum wage should be increased?
Among employers who want an increase in their state, improving the standard of living of workers led all business-related reasons for their support. A majority say a higher minimum wage helps the economy and helps them retain employees.

  • It can improve the standard of living: 74 percent
  • It can have a positive effect on employee retention: 58 percent
  • It can help bolster economy: 55 percent
  • It can increase consumer spending: 53 percent
  • Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work: 48 percent
  • It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education: 39 percent

Why do employers say the minimum wage shouldn’t be increased?
Employers who do not support a minimum wage increase in their state cite several reasons related to negative effects it may have on their business.

  • It can cause employers to hire less people: 66 percent
  • It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by: 65 percent
  • It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs: 62 percent
  • It can mean potential layoffs: 50 percent
  • It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers: 32 percent
  • Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues: 29 percent

Majority of minimum wage workers struggle to get by
A separate sample found that 79 percent of full-time, non-management-level employees have worked in a minimum wage job in the past or are currently in a minimum wage job. Of these workers, 59 percent were not or are not able to make ends meet financially.  

Firms hiring minimum wage workers this year
Twenty-seven percent of employers are hiring minimum wage workers in 2014, including 51 percent of retailers and 58 percent of leisure and hospitality firms. Of those employers who currently employ minimum wage workers, 45 percent are hiring more minimum wage workers today than they did pre-recession.

Interestingly, employers currently hiring minimum wage workers are more likely to support a minimum wage increase than those who are not by an 11-point margin (70 percent vs. 59 percent). 

Industry and Demographic Breakdown

Percentage of employers favoring
minimum wage increase in their state

Gender

Male

57%

Female

68%

Age

18-34

71%

35-54

61%

55+

56%

Industry

Health Care

65%

Retail

68%

Leisure & Hospitality

60%

Information Technology

67%

Manufacturing

52%

Financial Services

54%

Professional & Business Services

59%

Region

Northeast

64%

South

63%

Midwest

58%

West

62%

Company size (employees)

<50 

59%

51-500

62%

501-1000

67%

>1001

63%