Wagga workers are unlikely to get a pay rise any time soon, with a new report predicting flat wage growth.
According to the Hays Salary Guide, released on Wednesday, about two-thirds of employers plan to give skilled professionals a pay rise of less than three per cent and 11 per cent will not increase salaries at all. Compared to last year’s guide more people will get a raise, it just won’t be as big.
The report came as the Australian Bureau of Statistics published its latest wage price index, which showed private sector wages rose 1.9 per cent while public sector wages grew 2.3 per cent through the year to March 2018. Wage increases in jobs covered by enterprise bargaining agreements made the largest contribution to growth, as was the case in previous March quarters.
Wagga Business Chamber president Danielle Pascoe said the low wage growth – which was well below the rate of inflation – was a direct result of tough business conditions, not stingy bosses.
“It’s not that businesses don’t want to remunerate their staff or reward their staff for a job well done, the difficulty is seen in increased pressure from rising energy prices and other major overheads that might not allow for a wage increase,” Mrs Pascoe said. “The biggest investment a business makes is in its people, but there are broader issues leading to low wage increases.”
NSW Business Chamber regional manager Andrew Cottrill said Riverina business owners cited rising costs as their biggest concern.
“Prior to the recent period of subdued economic and wage growth, many industries saw very strong wage growth over successive years, wage growth that in some instances were not sustainable,” Mr Cottrill said. “In our view, employers are more than ever focused on keeping good staff and where possible will often look to offer a range of incentives to retain them, however, these measures must be affordable.”
The Hays guide found businesses were out of step with their employees about pay rise expectations, with two thirds making it their main career priority for the year and almost half saying they’ll demand one. But for those unwilling to pay more, Hays managing director Nick Deligiannis had a warning.
“After years of sedate salary movements, a pay rise has become the number one career priority for skilled professionals (and) if their employer doesn’t offer a pay rise, they’re prepared to ask for one or start looking elsewhere,” he said. “Turnover has risen in 32 per cent of organisations and of the 46 per cent of professionals who intend to look for a new job in the next 12 months, 48 per cent cite an uncompetitive salary as a motivating factor.”