A new survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed that British employers are expecting to award their workers pay rises of 3 percent in 2022.
More than one thousand recruitment and human resources staff were polled by YouGov on behalf of CIPD. They indicated that wages would rise, while nearly 75 percent of employers would struggle to fill gaps in their workforce.
Pay growth has steepled since the country started to shake off the shackles of Coronavirus. Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (and featured on these news pages) showed that average weekly earnings were up by 4.2 percent in the three months leading to November last year.
At the same time, recruiters continue to struggle to fill vacancies as a shortage of expertise and a tighter labour market have made attracting staff difficult. Working people have taken advantage of this situation, exploiting high demand to secure better pay and working conditions as well as seeking out jobs that deliver more attractive benefits.
However, despite the encouraging signs of pay growth, the rises are predicted to be less than the rate of inflation. An economist for the CIPD, Johnathan Boys, said: ‘Even though businesses anticipate making record pay awards to their employees this year, most people are set to see their real wages fall against the backdrop of high inflation.’
The Workers Union Says
The news that Britain’s workers’ wages are expected to rise is as welcome as it is overdue. Monthly take-home has stagnated since the financial crash of 2008, so this feels like a genuine step forward.
We cannot pretend, however, that it doesn’t present some difficult questions. Many people will feel that the pandemic has taken such a lot from them, that wage increases in line with inflation (itself a product of complex factors – many of which exceed the direct influence of national governments) are a just reward for their years of sacrifice. Yet we know that wage increases can and do affect the cost of living.
In short there are no easy answers to any of this. The Workers Union is, as always, on the side of the worker. But we are also conscious that wages – while being the cause célèbre of so many groups – are also the most visible part of the issue. What lies underneath includes such important questions as the quality of work, productivity, the skill shortages in our workforce and the quality and availability of benefits packages offered to workers. All of these questions are of equal import and should be taken seriously by company chiefs and legislators.
A brief survey of the landscape in 2022 shows where the imperatives lie. It is clear that we stand on the cusp of a new era in employer/employee relations, where companies that provide the most hospitable environments for their workers will attract and retain staff. In this brave new world, wages are just one part of a wider debate that will shape the working agenda for years to come.