Both company and political leaders have boasted about incremental wage growth over the last few years. While certainly a positive, one factor is watering down the benefits: inflation.
Professionals have grown to prefer remote and flexible work arrangements, but this embrace has allowed inflation to greatly outpace wage increases according to a study from the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research).
During the first two years of the pandemic, wages grew by around 2%, while lower paid workers saw a 1.1% decrease in their share of national income. This indicates that white-collar workers who have flexible work privileges are eating into the wages of the working class.
According to the NBER’s survey, 38% of companies have expanded their remote work policies over the last year in order to alleviate wage-growth pressure. Those who did said these arrangements allowed them to moderate wage growth by around 0.9%.
The pandemic drove wages to unprecedented levels, but inflation has quickly surpassed any of this progress. As a result, workers may be faced with a choice between work-life balance and financial health.