Some 60 per cent of SMEs covered in a survey by the Small Firms Association (SFA) plan to increase staff pay this year, with rises set to average 2 per cent. However, the SFA says that a noticeable trend is that many companies are shifting towards improving conditions of employment and other benefits rather than across-the-board pay rises.

“Most pay increases are productivity-related, and there is a notable increase in the percentage of companies offering non-pay benefits to employees such as sick pay, pension and health insurance,” according to SFA director Patricia Callan.

“The survey clearly indicates that employers have realised the benefits of assessing the overall remuneration package on offer, investing in employees through training opportunities, and meeting their requests for flexible working rather than just increasing basic pay in order to retain and recruit top talent.”

The survey shows that nearly six out of 10 firms have sick pay schemes, while almost two-thirds have pensions scheme. More than half offer flexible working arrangements to staff.

Basic pay

The survey showed that 15 per cent of employees earn less than €30,000 per annum, 35 per cent earn between €30,000 and €40,000, 28 per cent earn between €40,000 and €50,000 and 22 per cent earn €50,000 or more.

The survey covered 576 SMEs employing almost 13,000. It showed that the average rates of basic pay varied from €429 per week for a care assistant to €767 per week for an electrician.

The range for salaried employees was €25,350 per annum for a junior technician to €89,616 per annum for a software development manager.

Article Source: Irish Times