pay raises grow graduallyThe latest Mercer compensation report found that the average pay raise expected to be doled out in 2015 will be 3 percent, up from 2.7 percent in 2012. For top performers, the average raise will be slightly higher than the 4.8 percent that group received in 2014. Top performers’ pay hikes this year were above the 2.6 percent granted to “average” performers and the 0.1 percent given to low-performing workers. Companies have slowly acknowledged that better economic indicators seem to have momentum. For instance, Mercer said the increases for the average worker have increased just 0.1 percent per year since 2012. The salary increases have been somewhat more generous for top talent.

“Employee engagement and retention continue to be a top priority for employers,” Mary Ann Sardone, partner in Mercer’s talent, said. “As a result, employers recognize that they need to reward top-performing employees. And while pay is still most important, they’re continuing to provide rewards beyond compensation in the form of training and career development.”

Mercer also examined increases by industry. Energy led the way by a wide margin, with a projected average pay increase of 3.5 percent. Transportation equipment followed at 3.1 percent. Consumer goods and non-financial services were at the bottom of the list, with employers estimating they would offer increases of about 2.8 percent. Most estimates by industry came in at 3 percent.

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