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Thanks for your thoughts Jim. I have oftened wondered about this area but nobody puts this data out there presumably because the survey providers don't want to highlight that the data is inaccurate. Do you think the real problem is that people say 6% hoping for 3% or that the numbers submitted are simply unrealistically high as they lack an understanding of the wider business context? And if we have to submit a big number to secure a small number that doesn't reflect well on our ability to build a business case that will persuade our management committes does it? Either way I think this doesn't show our profession in the best light. Bring on the studies you called for so that we can shine a light on this murky area.

Good questions, Chris.

I don't think that "high" requested numbers are GREATLY exaggerated, because the requestors must document their logic; and it's never hard to show a "need" for more money. Smart budget managers know you don't get more if you ask for less than you really want; so I do think people tend to ask on the high side.

HR and comp people don't usually get to carve up the turkey. The budget allocation decisions are made by top management. Our profession is usually not privy to details of their criteria. We certainly do not view the enterprise exactly the same way nor do we have the same "business case" outcome expectations as they do. Whether that is good or bad depends on your viewpoint.

In the end, the usual reality is that no function (operations, finance, sales, HR, purchasing, MIS/IT, research, etc.) gets everything it wants unless it is the lead central income-generation component.

Believe I have some past studies of actuals vs predicted around somewhere because this has bugged me for many decades, but can't recall if we had published them: probably not, because they would tend to embarrass some powerful folks whom we have no good reason to antagonize, particularly since they are usually our customers. Besides, those other surveyors tend to be consultants who primarily poll their clients, so they have valid reasons for different results. Some industry sectors have unique cycles, too. Bottom line: ask for an original copy of last year’s prediction and compare it to the actual later observed, to determine the accuracy of a prognosticator.

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