According to the newest edition of the quarterly published Labour Market Outlook by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and The Adecco Group, less than one-quarter of private sector employers felt any kind of pressure to raise wages from the bulk of their employees.
However, that 24% figure did not quite translate to employers within the public sector, as 59% of public sector organisations reporting that they felt some or significant pressure to increase wages.
The survey suggested that the majority of employers didn't face any particular difficulties accessing the skills they needed as only 13% of all current private sector vacancies were skill-shortage vacancies, implying that any pay pressure was likely to come from a lack of skills in the labour market.
Employers reported average basic pay increase expectations for the coming year of just 2%, which, while marking an increase on the previous quarter's 1%, was still in line with official data that showed basic wage growth had been stagnant at between 1.8% to 2.2% percent over the preceding half
However, the short-term jobs outlook was positive.
The third quarter of 2017's net employment balance, which measures the difference between the number of employers that expected to increase staff numbers and those which planned to decrease staffing levels in the third quarter, remained near all-time high levels at +26 compared to +27 for the previous quarter.
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD's senior labour market analyst, said, "This survey provides further evidence that productivity has a far more significant bearing on pay growth than the tightness of the labour market. Over time we might expect low unemployment levels to lead to increased pressure on pay, as the Bank of England has predicted.
"However, it's the UK's ongoing poor productivity growth that's currently preventing employers from paying more, not their inability to find or retain staff. This is why the Chancellor in this month's Budget has to prioritise investments that will support workplace productivity improvements. For example, investing in support for small firms and skills development initiatives that can help to drive productivity gains over time.
"In terms of employment, despite the evident optimism in this quarter's survey, it remains likely that the sharp increase in the number of people in work over the past year will ease during the course of 2018. This is due in part to the impact of continued slower economic growth, the uncertainties associated with Brexit and the prospect of further interest rate rises. However, employment prospects for the manufacturing sector look bright, perhaps buoyed by the benefit of a weaker currency and the strength of global demand."
Alex Fleming, president of general staffing at the Adecco Group, noted, "It is important to note that productivity remains as a critical and national issue for the majority of employers as well as some specific sectors, whilst some other sectors have other priorities and are focused on filling specific skills gaps which are vital to their business model's success.
"The key takeaway is for organisations to remember that talent mapping remains prudent; organisations need to be ready to react quickly to possible future talent restrictions," he added.