Home Finance Despite 30-year high, wages continue to fall behind inflation, finds XpertHR
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Despite 30-year high, wages continue to fall behind inflation, finds XpertHR

by uma

 

  • In the three months to the end of October 2022, the whole-economy median pay award remains at 4%, unchanged for seven consecutive rolling quarters.
  • Median basic pay awards at their highest since 1992; however, pay awards remain below the rate of inflation

The latest data from XpertHR shows that pay settlements remain at their highest level for 30 years and are worth a median 4% in the three months to the end of October 2022. Over the same period last year, the median pay award was worth just 2%.

However, the gap between wages and inflation remains stark, with retail price index (RPI) inflation at 12.6% in September 2022 and consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 10.1%.

Latest pay award findings:

Based on the outcome of 38 pay awards effective between 1 August 2022 and 31 October 2022, covering more than 555,000 employees, XpertHR finds:

  • Median pay award stable. The whole-economy median pay award in the three months to the end of October 2022 is 4%, unchanged on the level seen in the previous six rolling quarters.
  • Wide interquartile range. The upper quartile, at or above which the top quarter of pay awards lie, is at 7.6%, from 5% in the previous rolling quarter; while the lower quartile is at 3.2%, from 3% in the previous rolling quarter.
  • Most common pay award is 4%. Almost a quarter (22.2%) of basic pay awards are set at 4%, making this the most common award.
  • Majority of pay awards higher. Among a matched sample of pay awards, 89.3% of employee groups have received a higher pay award than in the previous year

Public sector continues to lag behind private sector

The private-sector median figure sits at 4% in the year to the end of October 2022, up from 1.9% in the year to the end of October 2021. In both the private sector and the whole economy, the interquartile range is between 3% and 5%.

In the public sector, the median pay award on an annual measure is worth 3.3% compared with 1.4% in the 12 months to the end of October 2021, with the middle half of pay awards worth between 2.3% and 4.7%.

Sheila Attwood, XpertHR senior content manager, data and HR insights, said: 

“The gap between median pay awards and inflation is a continuing challenge for organisations. However not only is there the challenge of high inflation, but tight labour markets and continuing industrial action are pressuring organisations further to find the right balance between employees’ pay expectations and affordability. It is likely that affordability will continue to be the driving factor in final pay decisions as economic uncertainty looms at the forefront of many businesses’ concerns.” 

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