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Searches for Companies Rise After News of Wage Hikes

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Companies that publicized large wage increases have seen big jumps in Indeed searches.

Key points:

  • Job seeker interest in companies rose dramatically after public announcements of broad-based wage increases, though interest faded over time, Indeed search data show.
  • These increases in attention varied significantly even for large companies, with Bank of America’s share of searches rising 370% and Amazon’s 24%.
  • Heightened job seeker interest after pay hike announcements suggests that companies competing for workers can attract employees by taking measures to let them know about wage increases. 

Reports of hiring difficulties are rampant and the number of hires per open position is near historic lows. Many employers are wondering what they have to do to attract job seekers. One answer is clear: Raising wages remains a powerful tool. 

Searches on Indeed of businesses that publicized large, companywide wage hikes rose dramatically in the days after the announcements. While it’s not clear what fraction of these increases led to actual hires, employers competing for workers need to grab attention. Raising pay — and making sure to advertise it — can do just that.

Indeed data on job seeker queries show how interest in a variety of companies changed after employers announced wage increases. Our analysis focuses mostly on recent announcements to better understand current labor market dynamics. We also include a notable increase from  2018 — Amazon’s announcement of a $15 minimum wage — to see if the effects differed in the past.

Line graph titled “Searches for companies rise after announced wage hikes.” With a vertical axis ranging from 100% to 400%, Indeed tracked the share of searches on Indeed for various companies along a horizontal axis ranging from the day before the wage hike announcement to two weeks after the announcement with lines representing Amazon (May 13, 2021), Amazon (October 2, 2018), Bank of America (May 18, 2021), Chipotle (May 10, 2021), and McDonald’s (May 13, 2021). Bank of America’s statement on May 18, 2021 stated that it would raise its minimum wage to $25 by 2025 led to a dramatic climb in its share of searches on Indeed.

After both Amazon’s 2018 announcement and several major corporate moves to publicize higher pay in May 2021, job seekers noticed the wage bumps and significantly boosted their interest in those companies. Bank of America’s recent statement that it would raise its minimum wage to $25 by 2025 led to a dramatic climb in its share of searches on Indeed. On the day after the announcement, Bank of America’s share of searches was 370% higher than its pre-announcement level. Even the 24% increase in Amazon’s share of searches after its 2021 announcement, the smallest increase among recent statements, was substantial.

Attention bumps eventually fade, but that can take some time. Two weeks after Bank of America’s pay statement, the bank’s search share was still 28% above where it had been before the announcement. In fact, the uptick following an announcement can be long lasting. After Amazon’s October 2, 2018 announcement, its search share rose over 240%. The interest eventually tapered, but the company’s share of searches on Indeed didn’t return to its pre-announcement level until early 2019. 

Of course, not every company can expect national news media to pick up on their wage hikes the way they did in the cases of these giant corporations. Nonetheless, employers have ways to advertise the wages they pay, most noticeably in their job postings. While the effects may not be as large as when there are splashy headlines, employers of all sizes can use wage increases as a way to attract more job seekers and boost hiring

Methodology

To measure the effects of wage hike announcements, we looked at US searches on Indeed. These searches included queries on both the desktop and mobile versions of Indeed. The search share for a company is measured as the share of searches for the name of the company as a percentage of organic search traffic on Indeed’s platform.