Pay trend research highlights contrasts across 12 sectors

Pay trends for the past year varied widely by sector, with manufacturing seeing median pay rises above that for the private sector and the voluntary sector at the bottom of the pay rise league table.

The findings are published today in XpertHR’s annual review of pay trends, which looks in detail at pay awards across 12 industrial sectors. Based on pay settlements effective in the period from 1 September 2009 to 31 August 2010, the research is based on 1,327 pay awards in the private and voluntary sectors.

Overall, private sector pay settlements were worth 1.3% over this period compared with just 0.5% in the public sector. Analysis by sector reveals that:

  • The highest median basic pay award by sector was recorded in the general manufacturing, and food, drink and tobacco sectors. Both sectors recorded median pay rises of 2%.
  • Other sectors above the going rate for the private sector included construction (although almost four in 10 construction deals were pay freezes), chemicals and retail, all showing a median 1.5%.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, the median pay award in housing associations was nil, meaning that at least half of basic pay awards froze pay rates.
  • Also low, at a median 1% award, were charities, paper and printing, and transport and communication.

Predictions for pay rises over the year ahead reveal disparities by sector. Based on the findings of XpertHR’s recent pay prospects survey of 300 firms, we found that pay awards are expected to be in the region of 2% during 2011.

XpertHR pay and benefits deputy editor Sarah Welfare said: “Over 2010 we have seen manufacturing pay deals recover somewhat compared with the previous year, while others, such as the voluntary sector, have seen pay deals plunge to new lows. Employers’ predictions suggest that while pay rises may creep up a little in those sectors recovering well from the recession, most are forecasting rises of 2%, comfortably below the pre-recession norm of 3% to 3.5%.”

For more information, see the XpertHR research in full.

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