Large pay increases are unlikely in the year ahead but employees should benefit from more training and development opportunities, a survey showed.
A poll of more than 430 companies across Europe by Mercer Human Resource Consulting found only 16% of respondents are planning to increase their investment in base salary rises next year.
In contrast, about six out 10 businesses said they would spend more cash on training and career development initiatives for their staff.
Other aspects of employee rewards that will attract little extra investment next year are retirement and healthcare benefits, with only 16% and 20% of firms saying they will spend more cash on these benefits respectively.
Paul O’Malley, principal at Mercer, said many employers were reluctant to invest more in base pay increases because they do not want to raise their fixed costs.
By focusing on training, non-cash rewards and bonuses, O’Malley said employers retained flexibility in their investments.
He said: “By investing in employees’ careers, companies can build the capabilities to fill crucial skill gaps internally, rather than go through the costly exercise of hiring new people.
“From an employee’s perspective, training and development opportunities are often of as much interest as the contents of a pay packet, if not more so.”