Exxon CEO Promotes Salary Hikes In Attempt To Get Employee Attrition Under Control

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021 - 12:21 PM

It appears that not even oil supermajor Exxon, who has recently been struggling with its image as a fossil fuel company during the age of ESG, is immune to labor shortages.

The company is in the midst of considering salary hikes for its workers as a means to combat attrition across its business divisions, a new Bloomberg report revealed this week. 

CEO Darren Woods told employees they should be "encouraged" by the salary review process. 

“The policies we’re putting in place will get back to where people can begin to see a different path going forward than the path we came out of in 2020,” Woods told his team at a October 20 town hall meeting, according to the report.

He didn't indicate the size of any potential pay hikes, nor did he note which employees would be eligible. A company spokesman said that the program could alter salaries, promotions and retirement benefits. 

"We anticipate 2022 will follow our typical annual salary and promotion process, with industry benchmarking informing decisions about our 2022 salary program in advance of a January 1 effective date. We are recruiting, hiring and backfilling roles,” company spokesman Casey Norton said. 

Due to the pandemic, and the ensuing crash in oil, Exxon went from being one of the country's highest paying employers to imposing large job cuts and suspending matches to employee retirement programs. 

Former Exxon executives and staffers have found their way to hire-hungry tech names like Amazon and Microsoft as a result of the cuts. 

Woods was asked at the Oct. 20 town hall what he could have done better to mitigate attrition at the company. One employee asked him: “Everyone in the room today and calling in knows that we’re having some major attrition issues. While this can be kind of glazed over with the decision to have layoffs last year and the economy as a whole, really every business line is having attrition issues.” 

Woods responded by acknowledging the company has more attrition today, but that it's not something that is unique only to Exxon. 

“I’m not suggesting that your concerns around what are people thinking and what’s driving them to leave the company isn’t important. I would just make sure we put it
in the proper context that it’s something that we’re seeing coming out of the pandemic, and something that we’re seeing across all the companies," Woods responded.

The Q&A transcript and prepared remarks were posted on Exxon's website. 

“We’re going through the salary process today. As we get into Jan. 1, when raises come out, that’s going to be, I think, people will be encouraged by that, given what we had to do in 2020,” Woods concluded.