World News

UK employers offer lowest pay awards since Dec 2018: XpertHR

LONDON (Reuters) – British employers offered staff the lowest annual pay awards in more than a year during the three months to January, adding to signs that a slower economy may be hurting wages even as unemployment holds at its lowest since 1975.

The median annual pay rise offered to staff in the three months to January fell to 2.1% from 2.2% in the final quarter of 2019, its lowest since the last three months of 2018, human resources data provider XpertHR said.

“With January generally setting the tone for much of the rest of the year, we now expect employers to continue to exercise caution when making their pay awards, and for low pay awards to prevail over the coming months,” XpertHR analyst Sheila Attwood said.

Pay settlements from large employers sometimes show where official wage data is headed, though the former typically grow more slowly as they do not include pay rises from promotions and job changes.

Britain’s official rate of wage growth peaked at 4.0% in the three months to June 2019, but slowed to 2.9% in the final quarter of last year.

Job creation was strong over the period, but the economy as a whole stagnated.

(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce)