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Chicago employers counter pay cuts with low-cost perks

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Chicago-area employers spent the past few years nixing pay raises, cutting the number of paid holidays and even skimping on pension plans. Yet at the area’s trade associations, turnover was down 11.7% in 2010, a survey by the Association Forum of Chicagoland reports.

Reason: Many of the associations, trying to hang onto good employees who might be able to find jobs elsewhere now that the economy has started to improve, have increased popular alternative benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, flex time and telecommuting.

Even though raises in the region were smaller in 2010 than the year before, Chicago associations continued to offer small pay hikes to employees.

Chicago has the nation’s largest concentration of associations and nonprofits outside the Washington, D.C., region.

“Although they’ve not been impervious to it, associations have been working tirelessly for the past two years to minimize the impact of the recession on their workforces,” says Association Forum President and CEO Christie A. Tarantino. “This year’s survey is proof that their efforts are paying off in the form of happy, well-compensated employees, many of whom will likely stay in their current jobs even as the job market recovers.”

Two of the more popular perks associations are counting on to retain good employees: financial planning assistance and health club memberships.

Contact: Susan Urbanczyk,

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