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Slight uptick in worker pay forecast for 2019: Willis Towers Watson

August 14, 2018

Slightly larger pay increases may be in store for next year, according to a survey of 814 employers by Willis Towers Watson. It found the average pay increase for exempt, nonmanagement (professional) employees will be 3.1% in 2019, that compares with 3.0% this year.

Nonexempt hourly employees will see an increase of 3.0% next year compared to 2.9% this year. Nonexempt salaried employees will see an increase of 3.0%. However, employers plan a smaller increase for executives, lowering the average pay increase to 3.1% this year, down from 3.2% last year.

Pay raises have hovered around 3% for the last decade, according to Willis Towers Watson.

 “After a decade of consistently flat pay raises, we are witnessing a slight uptick as companies are feeling pressure to boost salaries, given the low unemployment rate and the best job market in many years,” said Sandra McLellan, North America Rewards business leader at Willis Towers Watson.

“While companies have been able to hold the line on raises, the tides are changing,” McLellan continued. “Many companies are establishing slightly larger salary budgets while at the same time focusing on variable pay such as annual incentives and discretionary bonuses to recognize and reward their best performers.”

Only 3% of companies plan to freeze salaries next year.

In addition, the survey found that star performers will get significantly larger pay raises than average-performing employees this year. Workers with the highest possible rating will get a 4.6% increase this year compared to a 2.7% increase for those receiving an average rating.

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