World at Work Salary Budget Survey Reveals Record-High Projections for 2024

by | Published on Dec 13, 2023 | Compensation

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The world is witnessing a dramatic shift. A recent revelation has turned heads: the largest salary increase budgets in two decades! The WaW Salary Budget Survey, a critical resource for businesses to plan their compensation strategies, has been instrumental in unveiling this trend. But, what does this surge mean for organizations and their employees? Let’s delve in!

Key Takeaways

  • The Salary Increase Budgets Survey reveals record-high projections for 2024, providing comprehensive data to inform competitive compensation plans.
  • Record-high salary budget increases are driven by a mixture of factors including employee performance and economic conditions.
  • Strategies such as balancing pay raises with organizational goals, utilizing total rewards solutions that leverage data, and adapting to the labor market’s rapid changes can help organizations manage their salary budgets in a tight labor market.

Understanding the Results

World at Work Salary Budget Survey Reveals Record-High Projections for 2024

The Salary Increase Budgets Survey offers invaluable insights to business leaders navigating the complex realm of compensation planning. Its objective is simple yet powerful: to provide comprehensive, year-over-year data that assists in formulating competitive compensation plans and total rewards strategies. Utilizing this data enhances organizations’ ability to devise competitive compensation strategies to attract and retain high-performing employees.

The survey is conducted annually, and its findings are based on responses from employers, which provides a realistic insight into the industry trends and salary increase budgets. In 2022, the U.S. saw an average salary increase budget of 4.1%, a trend projected to continue into 2023. This data, sourced from various industries and regions, offers a comprehensive view of the largest salary increase budget landscape, making it an invaluable tool for HR professionals and organizations alike.

Importance of the survey for HR professionals

HR professionals find the survey to be a rich resource to leverage data. It serves as a guidepost, illuminating the path to well-informed decisions regarding compensation, pay increases, and benefits. It also plays a pivotal role in the design and implementation of total rewards programs, offering data and insights that help in creating competitive compensation packages.

Essentially, the survey acts as a guiding force for HR and human resources professionals everywhere.

Data collection process by WorldatWork

The robust methodology underpins the survey’s credibility. The recent WorldatWork collected survey data, conducted from May 3 to June 16, 2023, garnered 6,570 unique responses, providing a robust sample size. From average salary increase budgets to projected increments, the survey compiles critical data points, covering employees across 18 different countries.

How the survey serves total rewards professionals

The survey offers significant advantages to total rewards professionals. It provides a guiding star in the design and implementation of total rewards programs, offering insights into industry trends, benchmarks, and salary increase budgets. This information, coupled with the survey’s predictive power about future compensation trends, ensures that their packages are in line with market standards and helps them make well-informed decisions.

Concisely, it’s a vital component for successful talent management.

Key Findings from the Latest Salary Increase Budgets Survey

Salary Budget Increase

The latest results from the survey have unveiled some exciting findings. The foremost being an average increase of 4% in salary budgets for 2024, marking the highest salary increase budgets in 20 years. This surge is not just a random blip on the radar; it’s a significant shift that’s reshaping the salary landscape.

The market is significantly impacting salary budgets. According to survey results, U.S. employers are expecting an average budget increase of 4% in 2024. This is significantly higher than previous years. This indicates a clear shift in strategy, with businesses boosting salary budgets to attract and retain talent in this increasingly competitive labor market.

Moreover, the findings shed light on the merit increase budgets for employees. U.S. employers are projecting an average merit increase budget of 4% in 2024. It’s worth noting that high-performing employees were granted merit increases 1.4% higher than their counterparts, showcasing a tiered approach to merit increases.

Record-high salary budget increases challenge HR pros

So, what’s driving these record-high salary budget increases? A mixture of factors, ranging from employee performance to market rates and changing economic conditions, are all brewing this perfect storm. Importantly, regular compensation increases are linked to higher worker productivity, leading to increased inclination to work harder and be more engaged when rewarded.

This creates a virtuous cycle, where salary increments improve employee effectiveness and consequently enhance organizational outcomes.

Rapid rise in pay increase budgets

The rapid rise in pay increase budgets has been nothing short of meteoric. Inflationary pressures and a tight labor market are the key drivers behind this swift escalation. This increase is not just a number on a spreadsheet. It has tangible implications, impacting companies’ overall financial planning and causing ripples in the HR landscape as pay increases become more common.

As businesses brace for an average increase of 4% in 2024, they must devise competitive compensation strategies to ensure strategic compensation planning takes center stage.

Tight labor market impact on salary budgets

The market is exerting pressure on salary budgets, pushing them upwards. The survey data reveals that U.S. employers are budgeting an average increase of 4% in 2024, indicating their readiness to allocate higher increases to woo talent.

It resembles a high-stakes bidding war as employers increase their offers to secure top talent.

Analyzing Year Over Year Data

Analyzing data

The ability to compare and contrast current data with historical trends is a powerful tool. It furnishes a context for analyzing the present scenario, helping identify patterns or deviations that may signify economic or employment shifts. By learning how to leverage data effectively, businesses can make more informed decisions and stay ahead in the competitive market.

The historical average of salary budget increases, as reported by the survey, is 4.1% for 2024. It provides a retrospective view, offering insights into past trends.

Historical average of salary budget increases

The historical average provides a valuable benchmark. In recent years, there has been a noticeable upward trend, peaking at 4.4% in 2023, the highest level in over two decades. But it’s not just a number. It’s the culmination of various factors, including:

  • Economic conditions
  • Inflation rates
  • Industry performance
  • Company profitability
  • The competition for talent

All of these factors converge to shape this figure.

Surprising deviation from previous years

The recent surge in salary budget increases has been a notable departure from previous trends. It stands out significantly, capturing broad attention.

The actual salary increase for 2023 stood at 4.4%, surpassing the figures from previous years, indicating such a substantial deviation is atypical of historical patterns.

Layoff likelihood predicted lower

The survey also casts a light on the probability of layoffs. Interestingly, the survey suggests a notable decrease in expected layoffs, with many organizations projecting no layoffs for 2024. It’s a welcome respite, especially in a world where job security often hangs by a thread.

Leveraging Comprehensive Compensation Data

Comprehensive compensation data serves as the bedrock for competitive compensation strategies, including:

  • creating effective total rewards programs and comprehensive rewards systems
  • adjusting merit increases based on market trends
  • retaining top talent in today’s volatile economic environment

It forms the foundation of an organization’s compensation strategy, carrying valuable information that influences its rewards structure.

Creating effective total rewards programs

An effective total rewards program is a carefully crafted blend of benefits, compensation, and rewards such as wages, bonuses, and other perks. The Salary Increase Budgets Survey data plays a crucial role in shaping these programs, providing year-over-year data on salary increase budgets that help organizations stay competitive.

Adjusting merit increases based on market trends

The winds of market trends guide the course of merit increases. By paying heed to these trends, organizations can fine-tune their merit increases, ensuring they align with market realities and their company’s financial capabilities and strategic objectives. It’s akin to steering a ship in a storm, with market trends guiding the way through the complex task of compensation planning.

Retaining top talent in today’s volatile economic environment

In the current volatile economy, retaining top talent is as challenging as finding an oasis in a desert. Compensation plays a pivotal role in this quest to retain high caliber employees, with companies needing to implement innovative and proactive compensation strategies to keep their top performers. After all, a company’s success hinges on its ability to retain its star performers.

Strategies for Managing Salary Budgets

Managing salary budgets in a tight labor market presents a delicate balancing act. On one side is the need to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain talent, and on the other, the necessity to keep costs in check to ensure financial sustainability.

The Salary Increase Budgets Survey offers valuable insights into this balancing act, providing strategies for effectively managing pay increases and informed salary budget projections.

Balancing pay raises with organizational goals

Balancing pay raises with organizational goals is a critical aspect of compensation planning. The market has necessitated a larger budget for pay raises, which, when managed effectively, can lead to increased job satisfaction, motivating employees to perform better.

Utilizing total rewards solutions to attract and retain talent

Total rewards solutions are a potent tool in the arsenal of HR professionals. By offering a comprehensive package of benefits and rewards, organizations can design competitive compensation plans to lure top talent and keep them engaged. These solutions have served total rewards professionals as a magnet, pulling the best talent from a vast pool of job seekers. In this context, the total rewards association plays a crucial role in providing guidance and resources for these professionals.

Adapting to the labor market’s rapid changes

Changes in the labor market are as inevitable as the tides. Companies need to be agile, adapting their strategies to stay afloat. This involves understanding workforce trends, adjusting merit increases based on economic conditions, and aligning these increases with market trends. All of which is important for creating effective and rewarding workplaces.

Case Study: United Kingdom Salary Budget Trends

Examining the United Kingdom provides a compelling case study into salary budget trends. As per the projections, UK salaries are set to experience a real terms increase of 1.3%, with employers allocating an average increase of 4.4% for 2024.

UK’s largest salary increase budget

The UK’s salary budget increase paints a compelling picture. The average total salary budget increase is 4.5%, driven by factors such as employee expectations and a tight labor market. This illustrates how the country is adeptly responding to labor market changes, providing useful learnings for others.

Comparison with global trends

Comparing the UK’s projected salary increase budget for 2024 with the global average offers interesting insights. At 4.4%, the UK’s budget is slightly lower but surpasses the global average of 4.1%. It’s a testament to the UK’s proactive approach to salary budgeting, setting an example for other countries.

Lessons for other countries

The UK’s approach to salary budget planning offers a wealth of lessons for other countries. From increasing salaries to attract talent to planning salary budgets to remain competitive, the UK’s strategies serve as a blueprint for others navigating the market.


In a world where the only constant is change, staying abreast of salary trends is crucial for businesses. The Salary Increase Budgets Survey offers a wealth of insights, from record-high increases to the impact of a competitive labor market on salary budgets. By leveraging this data, organizations can make informed decisions about their compensation strategies, ensuring they remain competitive in the talent market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the merit increase for WorldatWork 2024?

In 2024, organizations are expecting to give an average merit increase of 3.6% with a median of 3.5%, slightly lower than the average of 3.7% in 2023.

What is the Mercer salary budget survey for 2024?

The Mercer salary budget survey for 2024 reveals a trend of decrease in budget compared to 2023, providing employers with valuable market data to inform their hiring and retention strategies.

What is a salary budget survey?

The Conference Board has been surveying compensation executives with its US Salary Increase Budgets survey for over thirty years. also offers organizations information on how their peers are budgeting for salary increases through its National Salary Budget Survey. Together, these surveys provide valuable insight into salary budgeting trends and expectations.

What is considered a good raise in 2024?

A good raise in 2024 is considered to be an average salary increase of 4%, according to a new survey from WTW.

What is the purpose of the Salary Increase Budgets Survey?

The survey seeks to help businesses create effective compensation plans and total rewards strategies by providing yearly data.