Average pay in the UK is rising by an average of 3 per cent according to figures compiled by the IRS Pay and Benefits Bulletin, but some large private and public sector employers have made settlements of 3.5 per cent or more.
The survey of 100 recent deals found that about half were worth between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent. Most are higher than a year ago.
Pay rises for the public sector workers have continued to outstrip those for their the private sector counterparts. The public sectorís average 3.4 per cent rise in the year to May compares to 2.9 per cent in private companies, the survey found.
According to IRS Pay and Benefits Bulletin editor, David Carr: "The key influences on decision makers in the coming wage round are the two hardy perennials of company performance and changes in the cost of living.
"While pay rises have now caught up with inflation, the prospects for settlements rising much above 3 per cent remains dependent on a sustained upturn in the economy.
"For manufacturers, the weakening of the pound against the euro should ease some of the pressure and help them to win back market share.
"However, with firms eager to rebuild margins and keep costs down, pay settlements in this sector are unlikely to increase significantly for the remainder of this year at least."
Another recent survey by IRS found that basic pay for managers rose by 3.7 per cent in the 12 months to January 2003.