In the six months to the end of March executive salaries rose by an average of 5.7 per cent, according to the pay consultant Noble Lowndes. That compares with inflation over the same period of 2.5 per cent and a 1.5 per cent pay ceiling for public sector workers.
Executive pay awards averaged 6.2 per cent in the previous six months and 7.1 per cent in the six months to the end of March, 1992. In the half-year period before that, pay awards were running at 10.4 per cent.
The survey also shows that fewer managers are having their pay frozen. In the latest six months 6.3 per cent of executives saw their pay freeze, compared with 7.1 per cent in the same period a year earlier.
More than half the 5,362 executives surveyed received increases of between 3 and 6 per cent this year, compared with less than a third last year, while the number receiving pay awards of 3 per cent increased from 2 to 11 per cent over the year.
'In the current recessionary climate companies have few inhibitions about allocating low base salary awards,' said Andy Christie, a director of Noble Lowndes.
Companies had also become tougher on car allowances and other perks and many had reduced redundancy payments to the statutory minimum, he added.
The cost of living has fallen more than 5 per cent in the past 12 months, according to a survey published today by the Reward pay specialists. Although the costs of goods and services has risen by 2.6 per cent, its says the amount of income required to maintain the same standard of living has fallen by 5.1 per cent.