Year-on-year salary budgets declined in the vast majority of countries surveyed, including the UK, according to research by WorldatWork.
The WorldatWork 2013-2014 Salary budget survey, which had 5,027 responses from 17 countries representing nearly 15 million employees, found that the US was the only country with an actual increase in salary budgets for 2013.
In the US, average pay rises were 2.8% in 2012, increasing slightly to 2.9% in 2013. In 2014, average pay rises are projected to be 3.1%.
In the UK, average pay rises in 2012 were 3.1%, dropping slightly to 2.9% in 2013. In 2014, average pay rises are projected to be 3%.
Kerry Chou, senior compensation practice leader at WorldatWork, said: “Salary budgets generally reflect what is going on in the national economy.
“A nervous economic recovery creates nervous employers that are hesitant about making significant changes to their salary budgets and other fixed costs, but are making an effort to find other ways to reward employees.”