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Balloons tied to a suitcase. Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies are rolling out perks at a feverish clip to lure employees.

Why it matters: The economy is roaring back. Companies are pulling out all stops to win over the workers they need to meet demand.

What’s happening: Walmart and Target say they will pay tuition for certain college programs for millions of employees.

  • Businesses are also offering extended time off, free Pelotons or one-time bonuses to attract workers — and keep the ones they have.

Yes, but: What’s actually enticing workers is the most old-fashioned perk: higher wages.

  • "After we made our announcement [to raise pay] back in April, we're getting close to full staffing levels,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told investors.

The intrigue: Nearly 2 in 3 workers say they are looking for a new job, per a new survey by PwC. Employees said more money was the top reason they considered quitting.

  • The survey also finds a huge gulf between what employees want and what companies are offering.
  • Touting company values and culture, plus offering location flexibility, are the most common ways employers say they are trying to retain and attract workers.
  • But that’s on the bottom of the priority list for employees. At the top: more flexible schedules, higher pay and expanded benefits.

By the numbers: Employers are meeting the moment by steadily raising wages. In July, pay was 4% higher than this time last year.

  • Wages in the hospitality sector — where worker shortage complaints are most acute — are 10% higher from last July as hiring rebounds.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 16, 2021 - Technology

Fixing the pipeline won't solve tech's race problem

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The tech industry likes to cast its failure to include enough people of color and other underrepresented groups as a "pipeline problem" — one that would vanish if only more such people studied tech skills and entered the field.

But there's another reason U.S. tech companies struggle to diversify: work environments that critics say are rife with harassment and discrimination even as companies paint themselves as champions for diversity.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.