Date: 29 June 2015

Pay awards stuck at 2% in longest period of stability since 2006

Increases in employees’ pay have been stuck at the same level for the longest period since the end of 2006, according to the latest data released by pay analysts at Reed Business Information’s human resources service, XpertHR.

Pay awards in the three months to the end of May 2015 were worth a median 2%, according to the latest XpertHR data.

This marks the fourteenth consecutive rolling quarter in which pay awards have been at this level. Prior to this, the longest period of stability (since our records began in 1984) ran to the end of 2006, which marked 40 consecutive rolling quarters of pay awards worth a median 3%.

XpertHR believes it is likely that pay awards will remain at 2% for some time, too. Private-sector employers surveyed by XpertHR at the beginning of the year predicted a 2% pay award for the duration of 2015. This figure also remains by far the most common pay award, with more than a quarter of pay awards in the latest analysis made at this level.

Other key findings from XpertHR’s analysis of pay awards effective in the three months to the end of May 2015 include the following:

  • Deals settle close to the median – the middle half of pay awards are worth between 1.3% and 2.5%.
  • Higher pay deals are uncommon – just 6.8% of settlements paid increases of more than 3%.
  • Sectors converge – the median pay award in both the manufacturing-and-production sector, and private-sector services, sits at 2%.
  • Pay freezes diminish – just a handful of all pay deals (6.5%) resulted in no increase for employees.
  • Public sector continues to lag – pay awards in the public sector were worth a median 1.5% in the 12 months to the end of May 2015, compared with 2% in the private sector over the same period.

XpertHR Pay and Benefits editor Sheila Attwood said:
“We expect the stability in the level of pay awards to remain, with 2% likely to be the going rate for pay awards through to the end of the year. With RPI inflation forecast to remain below this level in 2015, employees will continue to receive a real-terms increase in wages.”


Note to editors
• Press inquiries to Sheila Attwood,, tel: 0208 652 2251 or 07919 157865 after 3pm on Thursday. Sheila is available for interview.
• In the latest quarterly analysis, details of 279 pay awards effective in the three months to the end of May 2015 that provide an identifiable increase in the lowest adult rate of pay have been recorded. These cover the pay awards of almost 2 million employees.
All XpertHR press releases can be viewed here. The next press release on pay settlement trends will be released on 24 July 2015.
XpertHR is the UK’s most comprehensive online source of legal compliance, good practice and benchmarking information made available to HR professionals as a single subscription service.

The median increase by number of pay reviews is the midpoint in the total spread of basic pay awards – i.e. the percentage at which half the pay reviews are at the same or higher value and half are at the same or lower value.

The basic pay award measured is the annualised percentage increase received by the lowest adult grade. It excludes any additional payments over and above the basic rise such as bonuses, consolidation, increments and performance-related pay.

XpertHR offers detailed statistics and analysis of pay settlements across the UK. The research is based on the largest sample of pay deals collected in the UK – XpertHR collects details of pay settlements for around 1,600 employee groups each year. Its database contains more than 37,000 pay settlements dating back to 1984.

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