The number of employers freezing pay has crept up in the three months to the end of October 2011, with almost three pay packets in 10 (28%) frozen, compared with 25% in the last rolling quarter.
This is according to the latest pay analysis from XpertHR, which found that, while many public sector workers will continue to go without a pay rise in coming year due to the Government's two-year pay freeze, one-tenth of private sector employers also expect to freeze pay in 2012.
Overall, the median pay settlement remained at 2% for the seventh consecutive rolling quarter and continued to lag behind the level of retail prices index inflation, which stood at 5.4% in October.
Pay rises varied across sectors, with manufacturing companies reporting a median pay award of 2.5% over the last three months compared with 1.5% in the services sector.
XpertHR pay and benefits editor Shelia Attwood commented: "We expect the median pay award to remain around 2% through to the end of the year. However, we are hopeful that pay awards will pick up in the new year, with a median 2.5% pay rise within private sector companies during 2012."
The research also found that private sector employers thought that the 2.5% increase in the national minimum wage in October would put an upward pressure on the level of their next pay award.
The full results of XpertHR's pay trends report, which is based on the details of 96 pay awards, are available here.