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The recession has pushed down bonuses and merit pay for corporate executives and restaurant managers and their base salary is not expected to pick up for the rest of this year, according to a recent study by People Report, a provider of workforce analytics for the service industry.
 
The average merit increase for restaurant managers during 2008 was 3.4 percent while the average increase budgeted for 2009 is only 2.4 percent, according to the People Report 2009 Corporate Compensation and Benefits Survey.
 
The survey found that incentive pay as a part of total cash compensation was down across the board, from the executive suite to the restaurant. The percentage of base salary that the average bonus represented in 2008 dropped 11 percent for corporate executives, 8 percent for corporate directors, 4 percent for multi-unit managers and 3 percent for restaurant general managers.
 
The Corporate Compensation and Benefits Survey recorded data from 50 restaurant corporations and 68 distinct restaurant concepts. The survey takes an in-depth look at total rewards practices and trends in the industry across all levels of the participant organizations, from salary ranges and bonuses to health care, paid time off and retirement plans.
 
In addition to receiving smaller merit pay and bonuses last year, restaurant managers also paid more for health care premiums, the survey showed.
 
"As we emerge from the recession, getting compensation and benefits right is going to be a critical part of any savvy company strategy to hold and attract top talent. Employers cannot assume that the A and B players will just be happy to have a paycheck," said Joni Doolin, founder and chief executive of People Report. "Understanding the competitive landscape is a good first step, but we are recommending to our members that they begin now to reinvent their pay, benefits and other rewards packages to be get ready for the next cycle."

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