UK employers expect scant upturn in wages | Fin24
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UK employers expect scant upturn in wages

Aug 11 2014 10:00

London - British employers expect wage growth to remain weak, according to a survey of personnel managers on Monday that contrasted with other reports that salaries are set to rise at a faster pace.

The report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed private sector median wage settlements in the year to June 2015 are expected to be 2%. They were 2.5% in 2013.

Economists polled by Reuters expect inflation to average just below the Bank of England's 2% target until midway through next year, meaning wage settlements would barely rise in real terms, according to the CIPD's findings.

A survey last month from the Institute of Directors showed two-thirds of company bosses intended to hike staff pay at least in line with inflation over the next 12 months.

Still, the CIPD survey showed recruitment intentions were high across Britain.

"This is great news for job seekers, but we urgently need to see jobs growth accompanied by productivity growth for workers to feel the benefits of the recovery too," said Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD.

Output per hour worked, one measure of labour productivity, is still around 4% weaker than its pre-recession level.

The survey also showed only 2% of employers increased their starting salaries significantly in the past 12 months - in stark contrast to Friday's report from the Recruitment and Employers Confederation, which pointed to surging starting salaries.

The CIPD said some business surveys were not picking up the large number of employers that are not carrying out pay reviews, or are implementing pay freezes.

Only 38% of employers had carried out a pay review since the start of 2014, a figure the CIPD said was "surprisingly low" since most pay settlements take place during the first half of the year.

Regular pay for employees grew by 0.7% in the three months to May, according to the Office for National Statistics. That was less than half the rate of inflation and the slowest growth in regular pay since records began in 2001.

Weak wage growth is the most compelling evidence that Britain's economy is still operating well below its full capacity, and that inflation is no danger despite strong growth and a record number of people in work.

The Bank of England on Wednesday releases its next quarterly outlook for the British economy - and how much it revises down its wage forecasts may offer some clue to how soon it thinks rates need to rise.

CIPD's quarterly net employment balance, which measures the difference between employers intending to hire staff and those planning to cut, fell slightly to +23 from +26 in May's report.

A separate report on Monday from recruitment agency Reed showed vacancies for part-time jobs has surged over the past year, driven by manufacturing, retail and construction.

The CIPD survey was based on a sample of more than 1 000 human resources staff and employers.

employment  |  jobs  |  economy


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