Will wage increases at oil company Exxon Mobil stop the constant stream of employee attrition?

Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. is weighing wage increases as it tries to halt employee attrition in its business divisions after massive job and benefit cuts.

General manager Darren Woods told employees at a town hall-style meeting that they should be “encouraged” by the ongoing salary review process, according to a recording of the event.

“The policies that we put in place will come back where people can start to see a different path than what we came out of in 2020,” Woods said at the Oct. 20 rally in suburban Houston.

Woods gave no indication of the magnitude of any pay hikes or of which employees would be eligible. The program will impact salaries, promotions and retirement benefits, spokesperson Casey Norton said in an email on Monday.

Last year, Exxon announced plans to cut 14,000 employees, or 15% of the workforce, by the end of 2022. As of December 31, the company employed 72,000 people worldwide.

“We anticipate that 2022 will follow our typical annual salary and promotion process, with industry benchmarking informing decisions about our 2022 salary program ahead of the Jan. 1 effective date,” Norton wrote. “We recruit, hire and fill positions. “

Until last year, Exxon was one of the safest and highest paid employers in the United States, offering a high base salary, generous benefits, global travel opportunities, and solid security. employment. The company’s median salary in 2020 was $ 183,234 for more than 70,000 workers globally, according to a regulatory filing.

But amid falling demand from the 2020 pandemic and the worst oil crash in history, the company imposed its first major job cuts in decades, reduced travel, suspended matching contributions to employee pension plans and altered its long-standing performance. ranking system.

Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and other Big Tech companies are hiring former Exxon employees, financial services, consulting firms and pharmaceutical companies taking over others.

At Town Hall, an employee raised his concerns to Woods during the question-and-answer session.

“Everyone in the room today who calls knows we have major attrition issues,” the employee said. “While that may be overshadowed a bit with the decision to layoffs last year and the economy as a whole, all industries are really struggling with attrition.”

She then asked Woods what the company could have done to alleviate the situation. One moderator said this was a “very popular” question.

In response, Woods acknowledged that the company has “more attrition today” and that it’s “not something we obviously want,” according to the recording. However, Exxon is not the only one losing workers after the pandemic and is faring better than its industry peers, he said.

“I’m not suggesting that your concerns about what people think and what prompts them to leave the company aren’t important,” Woods said. “I would just like to make sure that we put it in the proper context that this is something that we are seeing emerging from the pandemic, and something that we are seeing in all businesses.”

Exxon Mobil said the Baytown facility is the first of several planned plastic recycling plants.

In prepared remarks posted on Exxon’s website, Woods was optimistic about the oil exploration’s prospects amid rising prices for crude, natural gas and petrochemicals, rebounding economic growth, and rising prices. the opportunity offered by the energy transition. Investors seem to agree, with the stock rising more than 50% this year.

Exxon is expected to release its third quarter results on Friday and analysts expect net income to be the highest in seven years, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Whether or not employees will see much of the windfall remains to be seen, but the signs are positive, according to Woods. Exxon reinstated matching contributions to employee 401k plans earlier this month.

“We’re going through the salary process today,” Woods told employees. “As we move into January 1, when the increases are released, I think people will be encouraged by that, given what we need to do in 2020.”

Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg

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