Half of firms skip salary raises

One in two local companies gave zero raises to its staff in 2011, while about one in every eight (13 percent) proceeded to pay cuts to at least one category of employees, according to the General Survey on Payments and Allowances for 2011 conducted by KPMG consultants.

As far as layoffs are concerned, job cuts concerned just 18 percent of the sample?s companies in 2008, before the start of the financial crisis, but this number soared to 30 percent in 2009, to 43 percent in 2010 and to 45 percent last year.

The few Greek and multinational companies of the sample?s total of 241 who gave their employees salary raises opted for a 2.3 percent average increase in 2011. This is estimated to edge upwards to 2.4 percent this year.

The only sector to have enjoyed raises above expectations was insurance: Against a forecast for 3 percent salary increases in 2011, it reported raises of 4 percent, while the rest of the economy saw salaries drop more or grow less than originally forecast.