Pay awards in the first quarter of 2018 stood at an average of 2.5% for the third consecutive rolling quarter, according to XpertHR.
The last three quarters marked the longest period of time since 2012 that pay awards have been above 2%. Pay awards have not been higher since the end of 2008.
XpertHR suggested that this higher rate of pay might remain, as 61.5% of pay deals were worth more than what was paid to the same employees during the same period last year.
Its analysis of 227 pay awards made in the three months to the end of March revealed that the middle half of all pay deals were worth between 2% and 3%, compared to the 1.5% and 2.3% recorded last year.
The most common pay award was 2.5% – up from the 2% that had dominated pay offers for a number of years.
XpertHR pay and benefits editor Sheila Attwood commented: “We are now seeing a definite upturn in the level of pay awards made by employers. And early indications from some April pay awards – the busiest month in the pay setting calendar – are that 2.5% will become the benchmark pay award for 2018.”
Pay deals in the manufacturing and production sector remained at 2.6% in the first quarter of the year, remaining at their highest level since June 2012.
In the services sector, median pay awards increased to 2.5% – their highest since March 2012.
XpertHR last month predicted that pay awards in 2018 would be at their highest for almost four years, with the median pay increase this year expected to be 2.5%.
Its survey of more than 200 private sector organisations found that almost a third (28.9%) expected to offer their staff 2%, one in 10 (11.4%) expected to increase employees’ pay by 4%, while 5.3% of employers expected a pay freeze.