According to Paydata’s bi-annual UK Reward Management Survey, less than one in three HR and finance directors predict any issues, the lowest figures seen since the financial crisis of 2007/8.
Pay increases had buoyed to 3% on average over the last couple of years, but now 40% of employers offered a 2% increase and 42% offered 3%.
Up to 56% of pay awards had already been agreed before COVID-19, yet the likelihood of increases over the next 12 months is more unlikely, respondents said.
Tim Kellett, director at Paydata, said: “It will be interesting to see the impact the pandemic has on pay awards over the next 12 months, especially when pay budgets will not be eased by the furlough scheme and 52% of businesses expect revenue to decrease."
Many organisations said they still intended to publish their gender pay figures, despite government removing obligations this year.
Similarly, 72% of organisations will examine their ethnicity pay gap data, 63% will investigate employee data based on age and 63% will analyse how they support disabled employees.
Respondents listed pay benchmarking, employee opinion surveys and pay review processes as their top priorities for 2020.
This, Kellett said, would “ensure that employee engagement and key skills can be retained to minimise the long-term impact of the coronavirus impact.”
There was a key focus on coronavirus response from business, with nine in 10 employers saying their employees were satisfied with their organisation’s response to COVID-19.
HR has taken a “prominent role” in formulating plans for managing an organisation’s response to the pandemic, with 79% having been ‘very involved’ and 16% ‘somewhat involved’.
This, the report said, demonstrated the role of HR when it comes to managing talent and workforce planning that is at the heart of delivering business as usual for organisations.
Eighty-eight per cent said they had a business continuity plan in place and 5% said they were working on creating a plan.
The majority (94%) communicated healthcare advice ahead of and during lockdown to help combat transmission of the disease.
Yet 37% thought productivity would decrease during this period, especially given nurseries and schools have been closed meaning working parents have had to juggle homeschooling and individuals have had to adapt overnight to managing work remotely.
Kellet added: "The vast majority of employers have business continuity plans in place to deal with exceptional circumstances and the extraordinary times we are living through. Almost every employers had involved HR in formulating their response to COVID-19, indicating the crucial role of HR when it comes to managing talent and workforce planning that is at the heart of delivering business as usual for organisations.
Paydata’s survey was conducted between March and May 2020 and includes data from 170 respondents across a variety of sectors representing nearly half a million employees.