Retailers Battle for Talent with Compensation

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Axiom Consulting Partners and Western Management Group release report on the practices and trends in compensation in the retail industry.

Retail jobs that have the greatest impact on sales and margins are commanding the largest pay increases. In an era of 3.0% base pay increases, the average annual wage has jumped 10% or more for jobs such as Sales Team Leader, Sales Supervisor and Senior Buyer. This surprising finding was gleaned from an analysis of Western Management Group’s “Retail Sales Compensation Survey” results over the previous two years. The analysis, performed by Axiom Consulting Partners, also found that variable pay (“bonuses”) has emerged as the new currency for rewarding performance at certain leading retailers.

Although challenging to use variable pay in retail jobs populated by teenagers working part-time and turning over every two months, there are many other critical jobs impacting store performance that are increasingly on a performance incentive system. “When implemented properly, variable incentives are powerful tools for providing focus on the things that matter and motivation to perform higher,” said Peter LeBlanc, Managing Partner at Axiom Consulting Partners. Retailers are looking for cost-effective ways of recruiting, retaining and motivating talent and the study found that incentive pay is becoming an important reward.

Axiom Consulting Partners offers its “Retail Sales Compensation Survey Summary Report” in response to the increasing need for retailers to maximize the return on their compensation dollar. This report offers key insights for practitioners responsible for planning and advising senior management on compensation matters. The research report also features industry forecasts, data, trends and recommendations.

The “Retail Sales Compensation Survey Summary Report” findings from Western Management Group’s survey of Fortune 1000 retailers include:

  • While base pay wages increased 3.0% overall, Sales Team Leaders and Supervisors jumped 13.7% in 2005 and the Senior Buyer benchmark went up 9.4%.
  • On average, only 40% of the participating companies reported using variable pay for the various retail jobs examined in the WMG survey.
  • Variable pay is a desirable option among customer-facing jobs where performance is more easily defined but harder to manage to a consistent standard

Download the “Retail Sales Compensation Survey Summary Report” for more about variable pay and trends in the retail industry for 2006 and beyond.

About Axiom Consulting Partners:

Axiom Consulting Partners specializes in hardwiring people to business strategy enabling better articulation and execution of business objectives. We ask the right questions to uncover and remove the disconnects that commonly exist among the boardroom, middle management and the front line. Our clients find that Axiom uncovers insights and generates recommendations that have a quantifiable business impact.

About Western Management Group:

Since 1972, Western Management Group (WMG) has been a global leader in the design, development and conduct of compensation surveys. WMG’s practice is dedicated towards providing timely, valid and accurate market data to compensation professionals through the use of state-of-the-art tools and analyses.

Media contact:

John Whelan

Director, Market Development

161 N. Clark Street, Suite 4700, Chicago, IL. 60601

312.523.2090 office

Download the “Retail Sales Compensation Survey Summary Report” at

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.

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John Whelan
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