Basic pay figures in Northern Ireland are increasing, but grew at the slowest level compared to other regions of the UK, a new report has revealed.
Information collected from 199 individuals has shown that regional salaries increased by an average of 1.3% for the 12 months to February 2011, just below the national average of 2.2%.
Analysis of the figures for Northern Ireland in the 2011 National Management Salary Survey, published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR, reveals that, at 1.3%, pay rises are only 1.6% lower than the previous year (2.9%).
Although the average pay rise has shrunk, it represents a cautious note of optimism as the UK's economic strength remains uncertain. Indications from the survey are that businesses are trying to be 'economically positive' because the gap between the average annual pay rise is beginning to shrink. In real terms, the findings show that the increase in basic pay in 2011 is the lowest in the UK, but that the average salary in Northern Ireland, at £32,019, remains higher than in the North East, North West, Wales and East Anglia.
At market entry level, the best paid junior executives, excluding London, are based in the South West. Bringing home an average of £18,012 per year, they earn £2,264 more than those in the North West who are the lowest paid junior executives in the country.
Stanley Wallace, CMI business manager for Northern Ireland, said that the signs are encouraging. "We are by no means out of the woods, but indications are that the era of pay freezes may be about to thaw," he said.
"Of course, no one should believe that the only way to retain employee loyalty is by throwing money around. "It's not practical in the current climate and wider evidence exists to show that money is not the main motivator.
"What is clear, however, is that employers in the region appreciate that they can influence labour turnover and reduce the churn of staff they want to hold on to by rewarding them."
CMI has launched a salary calculator allowing workers in Northern Ireland to compare their annual pay rise against the national average at www.managers.org.uk/salarycheck.