NEW YORK (AP) - If you're lucky enough to be employed, it's likely that you'll see a small salary increase in 2011.
One survey from summer, done by HR consultancy Towers Watson, found that U.S. companies expect their budgets for salaries to rise about 2.9 percent next year. They had predicted a 3.1 percent increase for 2010, and actually granted a 2.7 percent raise.
That doesn't seem like much of a difference. But here's the key: Those figures only count companies that had planned an increase. They exclude companies that had stopped merit pay increases - 12 percent of all companies surveyed in 2010, and a startling 32 percent in 2009.
For 2011, only 5 percent of companies say they expect they will keep pay frozen at current levels.
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"More people are going to be receiving salary increases," said Laurie Bienstock, Towers Watson's North American practice leader for rewards in San Francisco.
That's borne out in recent moves by some corporations eager to keep their best employees in a slowly improving job market. Google Inc. said in November that it was giving all employees a 10 percent pay raise, and top executives would get a 30 percent salary increase. Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new CEO has committed to restoring salaries for most employees, who suffered a broad pay cut in February 2009.
But some sectors may be cutting back on pay. Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in October that the money it had reserved for compensation so far this year was down 21 percent from 2009.