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Annual pay up 4 per cent. Firms expect expansion

Annual pay up four per cent. Firms expect to expand

Pay rates for the year ended July were an average 3.82 per cent higher than for 2001, well above the rate of inflation, according to the National Salary & Wage Survey conducted by the Employers & Manufacturers Association.

The long established survey also indicated business is expecting to take on more employees and for business conditions to remain in good heart during the current year.

Responses to the survey were received from 692 enterprises employing 103,800 people. Over half the firms participating had annual turnover of $10 million or less.

"76 per cent of the participating enterprises expected to take on more staff in the year ahead," said Graeme Perfect, who manages the survey for EMA.

"This was even higher than last year when 70 per cent of firms expected to employ more staff.

"However 65 per cent of firms in July believed business conditions would improve over the year, which was down from 71 per cent last year.

"We conclude that business is expecting to grow by employing more people rather than from expanding output capacity by installing more plant and equipment.

"Therefore it seems the constraints to faster economic growth are most likely to be related to skills development and the availability of labour.

"A straw poll conducted at our briefings this month to a total of 1500 member representatives tended to confirm the shortages particularly for skilled staff; in Auckland about 20 per cent of delegates reported trouble employing suitably skilled staff, with the figure rising to 30 per cent in the Waikato, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Northland regions.

"There's little doubt the ongoing skills and labour shortages are increasing the pressure on the rate of inflation.

"We urge employers to keep up their investment in raising the skills levels of their staff, and also to look for suitable people from amongst older, experienced groups.

"Events since July when the survey was undertaken have confirmed its high level of accuracy. However, internationally the outlook has since deteriorated.

"This year is the eighth for EMA's annual National Salary & Wage Survey, which is undertaken to inform employers of the going rates of pay and other benefits for about 200 job descriptions throughout the country. Further limited information will be made public as more analysis is completed."

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