By Daniel Hunter

Manufacturing pay is remaining stable through the bargaining period for manufacturing companies in the face of a flat economy, according to the latest survey on pay data from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and JAM Recruitment.

According to the EEF/JAM pay survey of 245 companies the average settlement level for the three months to the end of March was 2.4%, unchanged from the 3 month period to the end of February.

The proportion of pay freezes fell was also unchanged at 9% of settlements, though the fact they remain evident highlights the pressures companies are under. The number of deferments in the same period fell to just under 5%.

“Despite inflation remaining above target, this is not being reflected in pay pressures for manufacturing companies. So long as the economic outlook remains tough, there is little to suggest that there will be any change to this position," Ms Lee Hopley, EEF Chief Economist, said.

“We’ve seen some encouraging data from the manufacturing sector in the first months of the year, and the more optimistic comments we continue to hear from our manufacturer clients suggests that the upward trend could continue," John Morris, Chief Executive of JAM Recruitment, said.

“While employers are clearly maintaining the cautious approach to pay that has characterised the past two years, the slight decrease in the rate of pay freezes compared with the average figure for 2012 is perhaps an early reflection of a new optimism in the market.

“We are also seeing a significantly higher volume of vacancies being advertised than was the case 12 months ago, and the labour market has become more dynamic as a result. This an encouraging sign, but manufacturers will be aware that they need to continue to invest in retaining and developing their most talented employees to stay ahead of their competitors.”

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