Skip to main content
Icons of Progress

The First Salaried Workforce


When Thomas Watson Jr. took Jack Bricker up on his proposal to do away with the hourly wage, he was setting a business precedent. Never before had a corporation the size of IBM leveled the compensation playing field to this extent. Before announcing the plan, Watson anticipated a favorable response from IBM employees. Years later he would write, “The joke went around that on the first day of hunting season no one would show up for work at our Rochester, Minnesota plant.”