increased offer of 3% for nurses, although unions still believe this falls short. In contrast, the second quarter saw private sector pay awards pick up, with the median award reaching 2% for the third consecutive quarter. Food manufacturers, chemical companies and retailers gave out the highest pay awards. The proportion of employers placing a freeze on pay continued to decline this quarter. In manufacturing and production, for example, just 7.5% of deals resulted in a 0% increase. Overall, pay freezes accounted for just 15.9% of all reviews. XpertHR also found that the cut-off point for the highest 25% of deals edged higher, at 2.3%, while the lower quartile remained unchanged at 1%. The service sector, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, saw payPay awards for the second quarter of this year were worth double what they were during the same period in the first quarter, according to analysis from XpertHR. In the three months to 30 June 2021, the median pay award was 2%, double the 1% recorded in the first three months of this year.