Survey shows salaries slow to increase

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013

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Some business sectors have largely backed a survey which shows bosses have been loath to raise salaries significantly this year.

Recruitment firm Mercer found salary movements were around 2.6 per cent, the lowest level since the global financial crisis. However, a record level of firms were offering job benefits, such as working from home or flexible hours.

Retailers' Association chief executive John Albertson said the survey's figures sounded like they were "in the ballpark" since pay rates generally followed inflation. "Because of the extreme pressure on margins, there's not a lot of profitability in the retail sector at the moment."

Job perks were also limited in retail, but more money was going into training, "which is beneficial to the individual as well as the business".

Despite stronger business confidence, Bill Rosenberg, an economist for the Council of Trade Unions, said he was not surprised to hear pay rates had been low. "We've been concerned for some time that we've had jobless growth, essentially."

Inflation was one influence on salaries but he believed pay rates ought to also reflect increased productivity, "which there has been".

"I think Mercer's sample is also probably largely from the professional occupations and so if anything, you would be more likely to see higher wage rises and benefits in that part of the labour force.

"Whereas a cleaner would have seen very little of anything."

Wellington software firm Silverstripe said the IT industry was not really typical of the Mercer survey because it had a skills shortage and had to generally pay higher wages to attract talent.

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- BusinessDay

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