CIPD research: Salary freezes abound as cost of living overtakes pay

Employees continue to feel the effects of tight employment budgets and rising living costs as research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that pay levels have fallen below the current cost of living.

The 2011 Employee Outlook: focus on pay research finds that just one in four workers has received a pay rise in the past six months.

Almost three in five employees (58%) have seen their pay frozen since January, while around 6% have had their base pay cut.

Charles Cotton, CIPD performance and reward adviser, said that even those who are lucky enough to get an increase in their pay will find it below the current cost of living, compounding consumer belt tightening.

“Inflation figures later this month will highlight growing pricing pressures, which is likely to continue for some time,” he explained.

Public sector workers are suffering the most. More than two-thirds (77%) received a pay freeze this year, compared to 52% in the private sector, while just 13% saw a pay increase, compared to 32% in the private sector.

Among those who have received a pay increase so far this year, the median is 3%.

Cotton also said that some of the lowest paid workers in the retail, catering and hotel sectors will benefit from the increase to the national minimum wage coming into effect in October.

“However, given that the busiest time for pay awards in the private sector is between January and May, most of these workers who have not received a pay rise so far will now probably not get one at all,” he added.

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