A report from Watson Wyatt shows employers aren't thinking about reducing pay raises despite economic troubles, and better-performing employees can even expect higher raises. The study shows employers are planning an average of 3.5 percent raises for 2009, the same level for 2008 and only slightly lower than the 3.6 percent average in 2007. The best employees can expect 5.7 percent raises, and employees who perform above average can expect 4.4 percent raises.

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Twenty-seven percent of employers reported using smaller pay raises as part of their contingency plan for future economic downturns, and 13 percent said they would freeze salaries.

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