4 in 10 companies considering executive pay reform: 5 things to know

Nearly half of employers are considering making changes to employee benefits, compensation, total rewards or executive pay programs this year or next, with about 40 percent of companies considering executive pay reform, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.

Willis Towers Watson surveyed 333 large and midsize U.S. companies to determine their plans to invest savings resulting from the tax reform law.

"The tax reform law is creating economic opportunity to invest in their people programs," said John Bremen, managing director of human capital and benefits at Willis Towers Watson. "While a significant number have already announced changes to some of their programs, the majority of employers are proceeding to determine which changes will have the highest impact and generate the greatest value."

Here are five things to know about the survey results.

1. Approximately four in 10 companies (41 percent) are planning or considering reforms to their executive pay programs, or have already taken action to change these programs.

2. Within executive pay programs, 33 percent of companies have spent more time or plan to spend more time on their incentive target, or total cash that can be paid for a bonus, for this year. Nineteen percent of companies have increased or plan to increase the use of discretion in their 2018 incentive plans. 

3. Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) are planning or considering making changes to their benefit programs or have already taken action to change them. 

4. Within benefit programs, 34 percent of respondents said they have expanded personal financial planning or are planning to expand it and 26 percent said they plan to or have already increased 401(k) contributions. 

5. In making changes to broader compensation programs, 43 percent of respondents said they have started to review their compensation philosophy or plan to and 36 percent have addressed pay gap issues or will consider addressing them.

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