Pay increases average 3.5% in 2008

Pay rises have averaged 3.5% so far this year, the same level as the end of 2007, according to research by pay analysts IRS.

IRS researchers collected details of 130 pay awards, collectively covering almost 105,000 employees.

More than half of settlements in the three months to January were higher than the previous few months, while one in four were lower.

A divergence between pay awards in the public and private sectors is still evident, with pay awards in the public sector a full percentage point below the 3.5% recorded in the private sector for the 12 months to January 2008.

IRS Pay and Benefits editor Sheila Attwood said: “Our findings this month will be welcome reading for the Bank of England. While pay settlements in the three months to the end of January 2008 are holding up at 3.5%, closer analysis of just those effective in January reveals a weakening of the pay bargaining position.

“The median basic increase for pay awards effective in January 2008 alone is 3.25%, a quarter of a percentage point below our headline figure for the latest rolling quarter.

“However, headline inflation nudged up to 4.1% in January, and will continue to put pressure on employers to match the rising cost of living in the pay increases.”

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