January pay deals climb to 2.5%

Pay awards are gradually on the rise, according to the latest analysis from pay specialists at XpertHR. In the three months to the end of January 2013, the median pay award was 2.5%, confirming preliminary findings that settlements have moved up on the level seen over the latter part of 2012.

Half of pay awards are worth between 2% and 3%. This compares with a median of 2% over the final quarter of 2012, when half of deals were set at between 1% and 2.5%.

However, pay settlements have only returned to the level seen over the first quarter of 2012 and the increase may not indicate a trend. In each of the past two years, the median has dropped back once pay awards in the key month of April are included.

Although almost a quarter of settlements analysed by XpertHR have review dates in January, four deals out of 10 are in April – including many in the public sector.

XpertHR pay and benefits editor Sheila Attwood said: “Although pay settlements have moved higher than the level seen at the end of last year, this may be a repeat of the ‘January bounce’ we have seen in previous years. We expect private-sector awards to remain in the region of 2.5% over 2013, but much of the public sector will be restricted to an average 1% increase.”

The current sample of pay deals are all from the private sector, as few public-sector settlements occur during this period. Among the 101 basic pay awards collected so far, the most common increase is 3%. But some bargaining groups continue to see much lower awards, and one award in eight of the total sample of 117 settlements is a pay freeze.

For more information, read XpertHR’s latest research.

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