Pay rises make it a happy new year for thousands of workers
The new year is set to be a happy one for thousands of workers as the majority are set to get pay rises.
Some 97pc of firms plan to give pay rises to their staff.
They are being forced to pay up as employees are now becoming harder to recruit and retain. This is especially the case in the high-tech, life science and construction industries.
Most companies are planning increases of just over 2pc, according to a survey carried out by consultants Mercer.
Higher rises will go to those in pharmaceutical companies, high-tech and services firms. The good news for workers in the private sector comes as public servants are also due a pay rise.
Mercer surveyed 135 firms and found that the vast majority were planning rises, with 2.2pc expected to be the most common figure. That translates into a pay rise of €1,100 for a worker on €50,000.
News of the pay rises comes after almost eight years of stagnant wages, with large numbers experiencing pay cuts. Other features of the jobs market have been layoffs, reduced hours, no overtime and the virtual disappearance of bonuses.
This happened at a time of higher income tax and the introduction of the hated universal social charge, both of which have ravaged incomes.
Now employers are again having to compete for workers.
Other key employers planning pay rises are those in the energy, consumer goods and manufacturing sectors.
However, some of the highest rises are set to go to executives. The Mercer survey shows rises of 2.3pc on average for executives, with 2.2pc for managers and 2.3pc for those in professional sales.
Mercer's Noel O'Connor said: "Our December salary forecast very much reflects the positive sentiment and improving performance of the Irish economy.
"The outlook is that salary increases are firmly back on the agenda for the vast majority of organisations."
Financial services, general industry and aircraft leasing are other sectors ready to reward staff with higher pay.
And 300,000 public servants will be paid more next year. The Lansdowne Road agreement will mean pay rises of about €2,000 are to be paid to a majority of public servants in three separate phases.
The rises are made up of a combination of flat-rate adjustments to the pension levy and a partial reversal of pay cuts introduced in 2010.
The phased increases in earnings for staff will be put in place between January 2016 and September 2017. Public servants earning less than €65,000 can expect the full €2,000, but those earning more than this will not get a €1,000 pay hike in 2017. Mr O'Connor said the unemployment rate was at its lowest level for seven years, and this was reflected in the results of the salary survey.
"After a number of years of consolidation in the jobs market, we are beginning to see more activity as employees are increasingly tempted by new opportunities.
"The competition for talent seems to be most aggressive in the high-tech, life science and construction industries."
He said that basic salary is an important component in staff retention and recruitment. But other elements, including pension benefits, health insurance, flexible working and a good work/life balance can be equally as important to workers.