Writer: Keaona Gray-Outlaw
2 min read April 2022 — Given a challenging national labor shortage, Charlotte’s regional banks are among the businesses looking for ways to lure in new talent. For many, the road ahead includes salary hikes, both to attract employees and retain those already in place.
“We are very fortunate that Charlotte has great people.” said Karen Lambert, regional bank president of Wells Fargo in an interview with Invest:. “We have done a couple of things to improve our retention strategies; we have raised our minimum wage from $15 to $20 and from $18 to $22, depending on the market. We have also provided supplemental pay to our eligible employees to recognize their contributions,” she told Invest:.
In addition to Wells Fargo, lenders such as Ally Financial and Bank of America have also raised wages for their workers. Bank of America, in fact, has steadily increased its salaries over the last four years in an effort to continue attracting quality employees. The bank raised its minimum wage to $17 in 2017, then to $20 in 2020. Bank of America’s minimum wage has increased by more than 121% since 2010. It announced last year that it will raise the rate to $25 per hour by 2025.
For the last 13 years, the federal minimum wage has stood at $7.25, although each state has its own wage laws, leading to different rates across the country. Unlike North Carolina, where the minimum rate mirrors the federal wage, states like California ($14 per hour) and New York ($13.20) demand much higher income to address affordable living.
In January 2022, 21 states embraced a $15 minimum hourly wage. States including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia are set to raise their bar within the next four years, according to the National Employment Law Project.
As the demand to fill positions grows stronger, benefits are also being considered as many of today’s workers desire flexibility and sustainable benefits alongside a shift into a hybrid work environment in the wake of the pandemic.
According to the Charlotte Business Journal, Wells Fargo is offering paid parental leave that covers 16 weeks for the primary caregiver and four weeks for the secondary parent. Ally Financial Bank is offering financial assistance of up to $35,000 for adoption and surrogacy, including 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
Dee O’Dell, Executive Vice president for consumer and business banking at U.S. Bank, spoke with Invest: Charlotte on what recruiting talent means for her business and its employees: “When we recruit new talent, we’re conveying a set of core values and a purpose that drives our work. I believe this resonates with people. We have also increased our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in a number of different ways.”
The Charlotte region is the third-most concentrated market for financial services, with expectations of an 11% increase in employment by 2025, Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the Charlotte Business Journal.