UK pay awards plateau at 2% after early 2021 rise - XpertHR

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FILE PHOTO: Westferry Printworks construction site is seen in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British workers received higher pay awards in the April-June period than in the first three months of the year but the acceleration is unlikely to continue, a survey by human resources data provider XpertHR showed on Thursday.

Employers increased annual pay awards in the second quarter to an average of 2% from 1% in the first quarter. But the figure for the three months to June was in line with rises seen in the three months to May and April, which suggested that pay rises had peaked, XpertHR said.

The Bank of England is watching for signs of higher inflation feeding into wages as it weighs up when to start removing the huge stimulus it rolled out last year to help steer the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many employers are struggling to fill vacancies and official measures of pay growth have increased in recent months.

"Organisations are understandably still being cautious in their approach to annual pay reviews, and whilst we have seen some growth from the awards made in the early months of the year, we are unlikely to see this level of acceleration continue," XpertHR pay and benefits editor Sheila Attwood said.

"Despite this, it is still encouraging to see the proportion of pay freezes decline in 2021 as confidence returns."

Food manufacturers, chemical companies and retailers recorded the highest pay awards in 2021 so far, XpertHR said.

The value of pay awards in the public sector fell for the first time in almost three years, slipping to 2.3% for the 12 months to the end of June 2021 from its recent average of 2.5%.

(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)