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UK employers adjust 2024 pay raises following record rises in 2023, WTW survey finds

June 29, 2023

Salary budgets for UK employees are expected to decline in 2024 after peaking in 2023. UK employers are budgeting an average increase of 4.4% in 2024, down from the average increase of 5.1% in 2023
Compensation Strategy & Design|Ukupne nagrade
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LONDON, June 29, 2023 — Salary budgets for UK employees are expected to decline in 2024 after a pay rise peak in 2023. According to the latest Salary Budget Planning Survey by WTW, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, UK employers are budgeting an average increase of 4.4% in 2024, which though down from the actual average increase of 5.1% in 2023 and closer to average 2022 pay rises of 4.3% is still well above the 2.8% salary increase budget in 2021 and years prior.

Inflationary pressure is the main driver influencing changes in salary budgets, cited by nearly three-quarters (71%) of UK employers surveyed, followed closely by concerns over a tighter labour market (54%). Other factors prompting changes to salary budgets include employee expectation (27%), anticipated recession or weaker financial results (23%) and concerns related to cost management (20%).

While we are seeing lower salary increases forecasted for next year, they’re still well above the ones we’ve seen for the last 10 years.”

Paul Richards | WTW

“While we are seeing lower salary increases forecasted for next year, they’re still well above the ones we’ve seen for the last 10 years. This shows that companies are striving to stay competitive in a dynamic work climate” said Paul Richards, UK Reward Data Intelligence Leader, WTW. “Those companies that have a clear compensation strategy as well as a good understanding of the factors affecting it will be more successful attracting and retaining employees while keeping pace with an evolving environment in which yesterday’s certainties no longer apply.”

According to the survey, attracting and retaining employees is still causing difficulties for almost half (46%) of employers (similar to last year, 47%) but fewer (32%) expect the same difficulties next year.

In response to these ongoing pressures, organisations are taking action to attract and retain talent. Over a third (37%) have raised starting salaries and the same proportion have embarked on a full compensation review for all employees. Additional measures that have been taken include higher base salaries for all employees (36%), hiring people in relevant salary ranges (35%), targeted base salary increases (34%) and enhanced use of retention bonuses (27%).

Non-monetary actions to attract and retain talent are in motion, as well. More than half (58%) of respondents have introduced more workplace flexibility. Nearly as many (57%) have broadened their emphasis on DEI. While 41% of respondents have taken action to improve their employees’ experience. Other changes taken include changing health and wellness benefits (35%) modifying compensation programmes (29%) and increasing training opportunities (26%). 44% reported funding the increase in total compensation spend through total rewards optimization (up from 22% in 2022).

“It takes more than compensation to attract and keep great talent, and the past few years have pressed companies to be more resourceful,” said Richards. “As workforces become more diverse, demanding and dynamic, the key is understanding their specific needs and preferences while providing the desired employee experience and careers within the company.”

About the survey

The Salary Budget Planning Report is compiled by WTW’s Reward Data Intelligence practice. The survey was conducted in April and May 2023. Approximately 33,000 sets of responses were received from companies across 150 countries worldwide. In the UK, 3142 organisations responded.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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