UK 2009 pay rises among lowest in world

British workers will receive an average pay rise of less than 1.5% this year, one of the lowest increases in the world, research has claimed.

A report by management consultancy Hay Group found the average pay rise for organisations in the UK will be just 1.46%, less than France (2.2%), the US (1.78%) and Germany (1.48%).

Colin Evans, UK head of reward services at the Hay Group, said he was not surprised by the figures, given the tough economic climate for UK employers.

“There is huge pressure on organisations to cut staffing costs quickly,” he said. “But the focus on short-term measures, particularly reducing headcount, may jeopardise the UK’s ability to bounce back come the eventual upturn.”

The report also found a significant increase in the number of firms freezing salaries, with 38% of the 2,000 firms polled holding pay levels, compared with fewer than one in five in November.

However, UK staff will still see their earnings rise more than Hong Kong (1.2%), Ireland (0.8%) and Singapore (0.22%), the report found.

Last month the government confirmed it would honour public sector pay rises expected as part of multi-year deals for NHS staff, police and teachers – despite many private sector firms enforcing a pay freeze.

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