who are the losers?

Salaries are rising. Quickly. But not as quickly as the prices. While inflation is still panicking the counters, with a speed not seen for more than 30 years, flashing 5.2% over the whole of 2022, wages have only risen by 3.7% according to Dares . And only wage earners at minimum wage keep pace with inflation.

When bills and receipts go up, so do salaries, but not at the same rate. Between the 3rd quarters of 2021 and 2022, base salaries [salaire brut, hors primes et heures sup’, NDLR] latter progressed by 3.7%. Inflation reached 5.4% over the same period [arrte la fin septembre]. The Dares (1), a statistical reference for the world of work, attached to the eponymous minister, has just published a study measuring the effect of inflation on current wage growth. A statistical measurement over the past year, stopped at the end of September.

Over this period, only one category of employees really saw its remuneration follow the rise in prices: those who are remunerated at minimum wage, thanks to a calculation method allowing automatic increases to be triggered, even during the year, as soon as the inflation exceeds 2%. Result: Over a comparable period, between October 2021 and August 2022, the minimum wage increased by 5.6%, i.e. almost 2 points more [que la moyenne globale des salaires].

Increase in the gross hourly minimum wage, since 2019

Source: Dares

The faster progression of the Smic compared to other wages leads to a short-term tightening of the distribution of wages, advances the Dares. Translation: small or low salaries are growing faster than the salaries of executives or other higher-paid categories. Clearly, the gap is narrowing.

Those of workers and employees increase by around 4.5% [entre le 3e trimestre 2021 et le 3e trimestre 2022], while those of executives and intermediate professions grow by around 2.8%, and this when the Smic rises by more than 5%. In the graph below, the DARES shows the minimum wage in red, the clearest progression, a rate even higher than inflation over the period from March 2021 to September 2022. The slowest increases affect executives and professions intermediaries.

Evolution of monthly salaries according to professional category

Salary inflation Dares

Source: Dares

Accommodation and catering: a salary increase linked to the difficulty of recruitment

Recruitment difficulties have increased over the last 3 years, primarily in the accommodation-catering, business services, real estate and information-communication sectors. Four sectors where recruitment difficulties are increasing by more than 70%. In accommodation and catering, for example, while 39% of companies said they were having recruitment difficulties in January 2020, they are now at 74% in October 2022.

Of these four sectors where recruitment difficulties are increasing most markedly, wages increased by 6.9% in accommodation and catering between December 2019 and September 2022, by 6.8% in business services, by 5. 9% in real estate, and 5.6% over 3 years in information-communication.

Please note: all the Dares figures relate to a salary increase over one year, stopped at the end of September 2022… Nothing says that employers will not catch up in 2023. The forecasts for salary increases in 2023 agreed around 4%. This confirms the acceleration, but remains insufficient to keep pace with the rise in prices.

Pay rise 2023: how much can you negotiate in the face of 6% inflation?

(1) Directorate for the Coordination of Research, Studies and Statistics.

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