Blue-chip companies seek non-cash rewards

Cash is no longer king when it comes to reward at UK blue-chip companies.

So said Mercer executive reward specialist Hannah Perera after the benefits and remuneration specialist published its latest quarterly salary indicator, which showed that most UK blue-chips will offer pay rises in 2010.

Nevertheless respondents said that in 2010 there would be “less emphasis on the cash element when rewarding staff and more on career development and elements of work/life balance”, according to Mercer.

Perrera said: “Cash, tarnished by the role of bonuses in the economic slump, is no longer king in the eyes of employers.

“It is being usurped by an emphasis on employee engagement and a focus on motivating specific, high-value employees.

“Whether this ‘new normal’ approach continues when the economy gathers pace again remains to be seen.”

Even so, 76% of the blue-chips surveyed will not impose a salary freeze in 2010.

In 2009 22% imposed a blanket freeze, while 32% applied one to specific employee groups, such as executives.

Mercer said that half of the blue-chip companies that froze pay in 2009 made exceptions for what they identified as key talent, either by raising basic pay or giving one-off payments.

Forecasts for salary increases in 2010 among the employers polled ranged from 2.57% to 2.8%. The research was based on pay and reward data collected from 41 blue-chip companies in September.

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