Next year flagged as year of salary increases

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According to new salary data released today, Australian companies are forecasting salary increases of 4% in 2013; however, the inflation predictions for next year are higher than in 2012, and employees are likely to feel worse off in real terms.

The latest Salary Trends Survey by ECA International found that for the third year in a row, Australians will be expecting 4% increases to their salaries. Yet alongside the annual inflation prediction, which is 2.6% for Australia in 2013, real wage increases will sit at 1.4%. “This is the third lowest in the region and down from this year’s 2% real wage increments. Nevertheless, it still remains at a significantly higher level than the previous decade when salary increases in real terms were lucky to get near 0.5%,” Anna Michielsen from ECA International said.

The forecast is a timely reminder to HR teams to reflect on non-cash incentive schemes, and reward and recognition strategies heading into the New Year.

According to one motivation expert, employers should review and benchmark their reward and recognition policies at least every three years and ensure they're abreast of the current industry best practice. “If there is an element of uncertainty about the cost, always err on the side of generosity, applying the simple but indefatigable test: ‘How would I react if given this?’” UK-based John Sylvester from P&MM Motivation said.

While the impressive rewards of the pre-GFC era may be well and truly over, if an employer chooses to offer a gesture of thanks it must do what it was designed to do – ie. Make the employee feel valued, Sylvester said.

As an example, rewards such as vouchers, experiences, or pre-paid gift cards are cost-effective, yet also have the power to give everyone the choice of what they want and to leave an employee with a positive impression.

RedBalloon’s 2012 Reward and Recognition survey, which studied more than 4,000 businesses across Australia and New Zealand, found that the most popular rewards were:

42% – Experiences - sharing with family/friends (25%) or Personal (17%)

31% – Cash/Visa Card

11% – Time off work

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