UK pay awards hold at 6% in late 2023, dip in early 2024: XpertHR

LONDON (Reuters) – Pay awards from British employers held at their highest sustained level in over 30 years in the last three months of 2023 but deals struck in early 2024 suggest pay growth has peaked, human resources information provider XpertHR said.

The median pay settlement across the economy stood at 6% in the October-to-December period, the same as the average for last year as a whole, XpertHR said on Wednesday.

Sheila Attwood, the firm’s senior content manager, said early pay deals in January – when around a quarter of pay awards take effect – showed a median award of 5%.

“Overall, almost half of January 2024 pay deals are lower than the same employees received a year ago,” Attwood said.

The Bank of England is watching the early 2024 pay deals as it tries to gauge whether inflation pressures in the economy are subsiding enough for it to consider lowering interest rates which are currently their highest in almost 16 years.

Over 2023 as a whole, public sector pay settlements were worth 6.5% compared with 6.0% for the whole economy, recovering some lost ground after years of lagging the private sector, XpertHR said.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken)