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One-Third of Workers Have Faced a Pay Cut During the Pandemic

  • One in three surveyed workers say they had their pay cut at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic, though about half say their salary has since been restored
  • Women are less likely than men to say their salaries have recovered, and were also less likely to report receiving a raise or promotion
  • Workers more doubtful about receiving a raise next year

About one-third of professionals in a recent survey said they experienced a pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although about half said their pay has been restored. However, salary reductions were more likely to impact some demographic groups than others.

The MagnifyMoney survey of 984 professionals in early November found that 34 percent had their salaries reduced during the pandemic. Companies frequently instituted pay cuts in the early months of the crisis, though these often proved temporary.

Men were more likely than women to say their pay was restored. Fifty-two percent of men said their salaries had returned to pre-pandemic levels, while just 44 percent of women said so. Women were also less likely than men to say they had received a raise or promotion during the pandemic.

Women have often been under greater stress during the pandemic, with a McKinsey & Company report in September determining that one in four women were considering whether to leave the workforce or reduce their hours. The MagnifyMoney report may reflect a greater share of women deciding to voluntarily reduce their work hours to better balance their career with child care and other responsibilities.

Millennials were the most likely age group to experience a pay cut during the pandemic, with 38 percent saying their salary had been reduced. However, 53 percent said their pay has been restored.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they expect to receive a pay raise next year. This was down from 47 percent in a 2019 survey.

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