Pay rises are trending downwards globally
IF YOU are on the lookout for a pay rise this year - and let's be honest, who isn't - you might need to temper your enthusiasm.
Or, leave the country. But we'll get to that later.
Globally, pay rises are trending downwards.
The latest pay forecast data released by global management consultancy Hay Group shows growth of just 3% in Australia for 2014, down from 4% in 2013.
It's the slowest growth rate since the depths of the GFC, and hints at lingering cautiousness in the Australian employment market.
Steve Paola, senior consultant at Hay Group, said slow growth meant many Australian companies stayed heavily focused on their bottom line in a bid to remain competitive, generally through minimising costs and working to increase productivity.
"There is an opportunity for organisations to be creative about how they reward their people - going beyond cash," he said.
"It's about spending smarter, not more, and reviewing return on reward spend.
"Securing the commitment of employees by developing clear career management plans, nurturing key talent and creating a buzz around the company's vision can also play a role in engaging and retaining employees over the long term."
Hay Group's research is based on the salary expectations of more than 22,000 organisations in 71 countries worldwide representing 15 million employees.
The study found global pay rates are likely to increase by an average of 5.2%, itself a slight decrease on 2013 figures.
Which brings us to the leave-the-country bit.
Hay Group expects fast-growth markets to see the biggest salary rises this year - if you're looking for an ego-boosting pay rise, head to Venezuela or Argentina, where Hay Group forecasts increases of 27% and 24.3% respectively.
Sounds great, yeah? Problem being the massive inflation rates (36.4% and 25.7%) mean workers are effectively getting a pay cut, as earnings growth fails to match increases in living costs.
If you're hoping to pocket a bit more than 3%, don't start negotiations on the wrong foot.
Don't go into pay discussions with an air of entitlement - explain to your employer how your contribution is valuable, what you think it's worth, and how you believe you've earned whatever raise you think is appropriate.
It doesn't hurt also to look at vacancies at other companies for roles similar to yours and use the proffered salaries as a benchmark.
Just don't look at companies in Venezuela or Argentina.