May 31 (Reuters) - Businesses in Britain intend to increase their workforces in the coming yea
r, although wage growth is likely to remain sluggish in what is emerging as a new long-term trend, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Thursday.
Thirty percent of private-sector employers think their staffing levels will rise and 18 percent predict they will fall, giving a balance of +12, according to a survey by the CBI and recruitment consultants Harvey Nash conducted between February and April.
This compares to a balance of +28 in the last poll carried out about half a year earlier.
It is likely that employment growth will continue to be driven by increasing numbers of part-time jobs and low pay rises, said CBI Director-General John Cridland.
'These trends of the private sector continuing to create jobs despite very slow growth and wage growth continuing to be very muted - as employees accept that job security is more important to them than real increase in earning power - this is the new normal,' he told reporters.
'This is not a short-term, temporary or cyclical trend... I think it reflects the fact that companies are having to dig very deep in order to collect business advantage. There's no easy business out there, there's only difficult business.'
Nearly half of all firms plan below-inflation general pay awards or wage rises only for some staff at the next pay review, and one fifth plan a pay freeze, the survey showed.
Latest data on pay, also out on Thursday, indicated that modest pay rises were the norm.
According to Incomes Data Services, the median pay award in Britain's private sector stood at 3 percent between February and April, while a survey by manufacturers' organisation EEF and JAM Recruitment showed that the average wage increase in manufacturing in the same period was 2.8 percent.
British consumer price inflation eased to 3 percent in April from 3.5 percent in March.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; Editing by Peter Graff) Keywords: BRITAIN JOBS/
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