The latest data from Brightmine (formerly XpertHR) reveals that the median basic pay award in the three months leading up to the end of April 2024 was 4.9 percent, an increase from the revised figure of 4.6 percent recorded in the previous rolling quarter.

April, traditionally the most active month for pay reviews, often sets the tone for the pay landscape for the rest of the year.

This recent dataset indicates a trend that could influence salary adjustments throughout 2024.

Despite this uptick, the latest rolling quarter figure is slightly below the median basic pay settlement for the 12 months ending in April 2024, which stands at 5 percent.

This figure marks the lowest median pay settlement in over a year, suggesting that recent deals have been consistently lower than those in 2023.

However, with inflation measures continuing to decline, the median pay award over the past year is still 1.8 percentage points higher than March’s consumer prices index of 3.2 percent.

Significant drop in pay awards

Sheila Attwood, Brightmine’s senior content manager for data and HR insights, commented on the findings: “We have seen a noticeable drop in the level of pay awards since last year – from 6 percent in 2023 to just under 5 percent in the first quarter of 2024. However, we are now noticing some stability, as the first April settlements are also centred on this level.

“We are continuing to see a minority of organisations offering different awards to different groups of employees, typically based on salary, indicating that measures to help the lowest paid with the cost of living have not completely disappeared.”

Key Findings from the Latest Rolling Quarter

Based on 102 pay settlements affecting 355,064 employees between 1 February and 30 April 2024, Brightmine identified several trends:

  • Narrowing Interquartile Range: The middle 50 percent of basic pay deals fall between 4 percent and 5.1 percent, the narrowest range since 2021. This indicates a lack of significant variation in basic awards across the economy.
  • Prevalence of Pay Freezes: Approximately 4.9 percent of reported pay awards were pay freezes, constituting about one in twenty deals. Due to the overall low number of pay freezes, this statistic should be interpreted cautiously.
  • Comparison with 2023 Deals: In a matched sample analysis, 52 percent of deals were worth less than the awards given to the same employee groups in 2023.

These findings highlight a period of relative stability in pay awards, despite the lower overall figures compared to last year. The data suggests that while inflationary pressures have eased, organisations are still cautious with their pay settlements, reflecting ongoing economic uncertainties.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.