Singing for your supper

15 November 2011
The proportion of UK employers freezing pay has declined, according to research by Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and recruitment firm Harvey Nash. Their joint employment trends survey, Staying the Course,  covers 462 UK organisations and found that among those in the private sector only 12 per cent plan to freeze wages at their next pay review, while 14 per cent intend to apply a pay freeze in the public sector. This contrasts with more bleak statistics from 2009 at the height of recession. At that stage, 55 per cent of businesses were operating a pay freeze. The latest results also show 7 per cent of organisations are operating a recruitment freeze, compared with 61 per cent during 2009. But while this picture looks positive (at least compared with 2009), should we take comfort from these figures? As the managing director of CIPS Southern Africa André Coetzee reminded me recently, a recession starts and ends with the health of the manufacturing sector. The sector effectively acts a bit like the unfortunate canary down the mine indicating imminent disaster (a gas leak) if it stopped singing. And the picture doesn’t look all that good. Having taken one small step into growth in September, UK manufacturing took two steps back and contracted last month. October’s PMI came in at 47.4, which was the lowest it’s been since June 2009. So while purchasers may continue to see ripe opportunities to keep their profile raised they will also have to dig even deeper to unearth further efficiencies. In the meantime, procurement staff are being invited to take part in the 2012 CIPS/Croner Purchasing and Supply Rewards Survey to confidentially feedback on the pay and benefits packages they receive. You have until 13 December to complete it. The resulting report will give you a clearer picture of how your pay compares to that of peers.
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