Inflation Concerns Surge 684% Among U.S. Employees


January 25, 2022

Key Findings

  • The share of employee reviews on Glassdoor mentioning “inflation” rose 684 percent year-over-year as of January 2022.
  • The overwhelming majority of employee discussions of inflation are negative. Inflation was 15 times more likely to be mentioned in the “Cons” section of reviews than in the “Pros” in 2021.

Prices are rising rapidly around the U.S. as inflation shot upward to 7 percent in 2021, the highest since 1982. As inflation eats into American wallets, employees are growing increasingly concerned about their pay keeping up with the rising cost of living. On Glassdoor, employee reviews mentioning inflation skyrocketed, rising 684 percent over the last year as of January 2022.

As inflation declined early in the pandemic, discussion also dropped, but as inflation began surging in spring 2021, inflation discussions on Glassdoor quickly surged to the highest rate in over five years.

Employees concerned about inflation eating into pay

Mentions of inflation are overwhelmingly negative with inflation 15 times more likely to appear in the “Cons” section of reviews than the “Pros” in 2021. Most employees express concern that their pay is not keeping up with inflation. In today’s environment, this is often supplemented by conversations around staffing shortages, turnover to higher-paying jobs, pay freezes during the pandemic and high corporate profits. Even positive mentions are largely pay-focused where employees are comparing their raises to inflation rates. 

Below are some excerpts from recent employee reviews on Glassdoor discussing inflation:

  • Employee at Mezocliq in New York, NY: “From the moment I was hired on I was given a much more competitive starting salary offer than any other company I applied at, and it’s consistently increased every year so that I never have to stress about not being paid what I’m worth (and keeping up with inflation).”
  • Development Employee at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA: “…overall the zoo has been a wonderful place to work and as long as my pay stays competitive and they offer reasonable pay increases each year to keep up with inflation, I can see myself working here for many many years!”
  • Senior Product Engineer at Navistar in Lisle, IL: “Half my team left, and there is no plan to replace any of them, so those of us left are struggling to keep up the expected workload. Despite record profits during the pandemic, an employee who is ‘meeting expectations’ still only got a 1% annual raise; not even enough to keep up with inflation.”
  • Senior Analyst at The Home Depot in Atlanta, GA: “Company had incredible growth last year during pandemic but awarded 2.5% raises to everyone across the board, regardless of performance. Doesn’t even cover inflation. … If ‘taking care of our people’ is one of our values, why did you effectively allow your employees to take a pay cut in this inflationary environment while we supported what was likely the highest growth year in the company’s history?”
  • School Bus Driver at Septran Student Transportation in Plainfield, IL: “Short staffed (driver shortage due to covid) that nearly all the drivers are getting burnt out and scheduling is not as flexible as it was precovid … Annual raises are great, but barely cover inflation and the rising cost of health insurance, it also under values the driver and the service they provide.”
  • Operations Employee at Envision Healthcare in Phoenix, AZ: “Pay does not match the market and inflation rates. More and more responsibilities increase as teammates leave for higher paying jobs, without any additional compensation taking on that extra burden. 3% raise after 2 years of no raise/salary reductions due to COVID climate is disheartening.” 

Conclusion

Inflation at the highest level in decades is heightening concerns among U.S. employees and how it eats into their pay. Employees are keenly aware of the impact of inflation on their take-home pay and with the hot job market, employees are likely to put more pressure on employers to offer larger raises. While inflation seems likely to moderate in 2022, for the time being, employees remain concerned.

Methodology

We identified reviews on Glassdoor submitted by U.S. employees through Jan 22, 2022 where “inflation” was mentioned in the body of reviews. Sentiment was measured by comparing mentions in the “Cons” section against mentions in the “Pros” section.

To speak with Daniel Zhao about this report, please contact pr@glassdoor.com. For the latest economics and labor market updates follow @DanielBZhao on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.