Globally, Salary Budgets to Rise Slightly in 2013


By © Culpepper and Associates September 17, 2012

Since bottoming out in 2009, average base salary budgets across most global regions climbed steadily for two years but dropped or remained relatively flat in 2012. Base salary increases across most global regions are projected to rise only slightly in 2013, as continued uncertainty about the global economy has forced many companies to keep a tight rein on human capital expenses, according to the 2012-2013 Culpepper Salary Budget & Compensation Planning Survey report.

Fielded June 1 through Aug. 15, 2012, the survey draws on salary data from 1,160 participating organizations in more than 100 countries and 25 international regions. Over 90 percent of respondents said they review base salaries annually.

Global Overview of Base Salary Increases

On average, base salary increases for most regions are still lower than levels before the global economic crisis unfolded in late 2008. The survey revealed that:

  • Africa and Latin America were the only regions where base salary increase budgets for 2013 are projected at levels above 2008.
  • Africa is projected to surpass Latin America in 2013 as the global region with the highest average salary increase.

For the fourth consecutive year, base salary budgets in Northern America are lower than all other major global regions.


The table below provides aggregate median and average base salary increases for 2012 and 2013 for major geographic regions throughout the world.

See geographic footnotes for countries in each category.

Base salary increases included COLAs (cost-of-living adjustments), inflationary increases, merit increases, discretionary increases and other nonpromotional increases.

Fewer Salary Freezes

The percentage of companies planning to freeze salaries in 2013 is projected to decline to levels not seen since before the global economic crisis unfolded in late 2008. Only 2 percent of companies globally are planning to freeze salaries for all employees across all locations in 2013, down from 4.6 percent in 2012.


Variations Within the U.S. and Eurozone

Among other notable survey findings:

  • Highest-paying vs. lowest-paying U.S. metro areas. On average, base salary increases in the highest-paying U.S. metro areas (3.28 percent) are projected to be significantly higher than the lowest-paying metro areas (2.68 percent).
  • Eurozone travails. The struggling economies of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain are projected to have five of the lowest eight average base salary increases of the 17 countries in the eurozone.

Reposted with permission from 2012-2013 Culpepper Salary Budget Surveyreport, August 2012,

Culpepper and Associates Inc. conducts worldwide salary surveys and provides benchmark data for compensation and employee benefit programs.

Related Articles:

Unanimity on 2013 Salary Forecasts Holding Up, SHRM Online Compensation Discipline, August 2012

U.S. Trails for Projected 2013 Salary Budget Increases, SHRM Online Compensation Discipline, July 2012

Salary Budgets for 2012 Declined Slightly Worldwide, SHRM Online Compensation Discipline, March 2012

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Compensation Discipline

SHRM Salary Survey Directory

SHRM Compensation Data Center

SHRM Metro Economic Outlook reports

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