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U.S. workers’ pay is likely to rise, report says

According to a new report, U.S. workers could see an increase in pay despite a lagging labor market and an uncertain economic outlook.

The human resource consulting firm Mercer says base pay is expected to rise an average of 2.9% in 2013, up slightly from 2.7% in 2012 and 2011 and 2.3% in 2010. The forecast indicates a steadily increasing trend in base pay, the report said.

“Base pay is still the most important element of the employment deal,” Mercer executive Catherine Hartmann said.

More than 95% of organizations surveyed are planning to increase salaries, and next year is expected to be the third in a row to see a decline in the number of salary freezes and reductions, according to the study.

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“Employers continue to recognize that in order to attract and retain top-performing employees, they’re going to have to reward them in line with industry dynamics,” Hartmann said.

Top-level performers -- or about 8% of the workforce -- saw a pay increase of 4.4% in 2012, according to the study. It’s a trend Mercer expects to continue.

The survey said the top three reasons that determine compensation are the need to retain talent (reported by 74% of respondents), pay for performance (66%) and acquire new talent (57%).

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