Pay awards are expected to remain suppressed at two per cent for private sector employees – 1.2 per cent below the forecast level of inflation.

Despite the low rise, most staff are expected to receive a wage increase. More than 75 per cent of respondents to XpertHR’s survey said they were planning to award these to workers.

The results show that when the not-for-profit sector is excluded from the figures the average salary raise reaches 2.5 per cent. Only one in 10 companies are planning on freezing remuneration in the year to the end of February 2013.

In addition to increased wages, nearly half of employers said they intend to make a change to the terms and conditions of employment. Of those who specified what these alternations may be, 34 per cent believed they would make some redundancies, while a quarter plan to review their benefits packages.

The subdued pay increments have been largely accepted by staff, according to three-quarters of firms. They agree that employees have recognised the need for restraint. This result is emphasised by the fact that only 16 per cent of employers felt under pressure to make up for previous years’ low rewards.