Workers in Europe’s largest economies are the least likely to see wage increases in the coming year, despite the greatest pressure from rising prices.

That’s the conclusion of a global survey conducted by YouGov Plc and shared exclusively with Bloomberg News. It could allay central bank concerns about the potential for a wage inflation spiral.

The poll, which spanned 18 countries and involved 20,000 people, showed that only one in five workers in Spain and one in four in Germany plan to ask for a raise. In the UK, where policy makers are particularly concerned about higher wage schemes, it is 30 percent. That is 40% in the US and more than 70% in Indonesia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

With inflation rising around the world and likely to rise further as a result of the war in Ukraine, central bankers have become increasingly concerned about the so-called second-round effects on inflation. That’s where higher prices translate into demands for higher wages, which then force companies to raise prices even more.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has been particularly vocal about the risk and has sparked controversy by calling on workers to exercise restraint with their wage demands. US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell has expressed a similar unease, albeit in a less inflammatory manner.

The picture is somewhat different in the euro region, where policymakers have repeatedly said that, despite inflation close to 6%, wage growth generally remains subdued. Bundesbank chief Joachim Nagel said last week there are currently “no signs” of a wage-price spiral.

That view is consistent with the numbers in the YouGov survey, which was conducted between February 22 and March 8. Even employees who want a higher wage will make fairly meager demands. Across the globe, 35% said they would request a 2.1% to 5% increase.

In Britain, where inflation is already at 5.5% and could reach double digits later this year, more than half of those polled said they want an increase of less than 5%. That compares to 42% in the US

While German and Italian workers were generally less likely to ask for raises, those who planned to had more aggressive demands, with more than 40% asking for raises of 5% or more.

The scope of the demands varied around the world, but the reasons for not seeking higher wages were very similar. In every country except Denmark, the majority of those who didn’t want a raise said it was because “my employer wouldn’t give it a chance.” The Scandinavian country also returned most of its workers and said it was satisfied with the current rate.

The muted demands are all the more striking when compared to the rising cost of living in many countries, with higher energy prices and pandemic-related supply difficulties resulting in a surge in household bills. About 90% of people in Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK – who were among the least likely to seek higher wages – said the cost of living had risen for them in the past 12 months.


This post European workers are hesitant to ask for wage increases despite inflation was original published at “https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/europe-s-workers-wary-of-asking-for-pay-raises-despite-inflation”

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