The board overseeing a South Carolina company that fosters technology jobs approved Thursday increasing employees' pay by $290,000 in an effort to make their salaries more competitive.
The executive committee of the South Carolina Research Authority approved an average pay raise of 6.5 percent. Amounts will vary by employee, with some of the 240 getting nothing. Raises should come in November checks. Officials said they could not provide a breakdown, saying that's yet to be worked out.
Only chairman Bill Masters objected: "At a time when the state is going through extreme financial stress, I can't support it," said Gov. Mark Sanford's appointee.
But other members said the company is losing employees and prospects because of its low pay. Officials said 10 percent of employees left last year, an unusually high turnover rate for the high-tech industry.
Base salaries at the company, created through a 1983 state law and expanded in 2005 - over Sanford's objections - are at 25 percent of the national market average of high-tech industries, with bonuses boosting some pay to nearly 50 percent, according to a salary study by the Hay Group consulting firm. Officials would not give reporters copies of the study, saying the details could hurt the company's ability to compete.