EDITORIAL: Salaries look safer than first predicted

Given the consequent effects of job insecurity on staff performance and morale, the results of the PRWeek Salary Survey 2002 contain some important positive indicators.

Although widespread job insecurity has infected staff at most levels and across many sectors, the results of the survey show the worst of the pain is probably over.

The retrenchments that took place during 2001 undoubtedly created insecurity - with consultancies slashing jobs at an average rate of ten per cent - but the decision to make pre-emptive cuts looks more like prudent management now than it may have done at the time.

Staff today are showing less residual signs of insecurity. When asked, the majority of respondents said they do not expect pay cuts this year (see chart, page 16). Again this may reflect the benefits of taking speedy action to cut costs as revenues fell.

In addition, in-house staff in the private and public sectors, plus consultancies, report pay increases on average of more than six per cent, with consultancy MDs and board directors recording pay rises of 9.6 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively.

It is important to balance these findings with the fact that they do not take into account the number of people who have lost their jobs. And the response rate to the survey this year was for the first time in many years below 1,000, suggesting a sense of insecurity among practitioners.

But overall, individuals' morale seems to be recovering from the worst days of cutbacks.

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