Pay awards so far in 2012 stand at a median 2.6%, according to the latest data from pay specialists XpertHR.
Based on the largest sample of UK pay awards available, the research reveals that pay awards in the first quarter of the year are holding up well. The current 2.6% median compares with a 2% median award seen during 2011 as a whole.
The findings are based on details of 207 pay awards effective between 1 January and 31 March 2012, all but one of which is in the private-sector.
Other key findings include:
· The spread of pay awards remains narrow, with half of all pay awards worth between 2% and 3%.
· Pay freezes are still a feature, with around one pay review in 10 resulting in no increase for staff.
· Pay awards in the manufacturing sector (2.6%) have fallen, and are now almost in line with those in the services (2.5%) sector.
· Pay awards continue to lag inflation – RPI at 3.6% in March stands one percentage point above the level of pay awards. Pay awards have now been worth less than inflation since December 2009.
· Pay awards based on performance continue to offer the potential for higher pay awards. Among an additional 59 pay awards based on performance for which a paybill figure has been provided, the median paybill budget increase is 3%.
XpertHR Pay and Benefits editor Sheila Attwood said:
"Private-sector pay awards are expected to retain their current level around 2.6% over the next couple of months. However, in the public-sector there is a very different picture, with the pay freeze continuing for another year.
"The gap between pay awards and inflation is only going to close considerably if inflation falls as there is no sign of a significant rise in the level of pay awards."