Compensation budgets are expected to stay intact in 2011, andfew companies plan to take extreme measures, including pay freezesto lower costs, finds a new Aon Hewitt survey of more than 500employers.

Three-quarters of companies also anticipate hitting orsurpassing business performance goals this year, the survey alsoreveals, causing pay and variable pay budget stabilization in 2011.Fifty-six percent of companies made no modification to theiroriginal base salary increase budgets, and those are projected toreach their highest levels in two years. Salary raises for salariedexempt workers, who are excluded from overtime rules, are predictedto hit 2.8 percent in 2011 - up from 2.4 percent in 2010, and 1.8percent in 2009 when employees faced record-low pay raises.

"Prior to the recession, companies were optimistic about their compensationbudgets but, ultimately, scaled back from their originalprojections in an effort to control costs," says Ken Abosch, marketing strategy anddevelopment leader in Aon Hewitt's Broad-Based CompensationConsulting practice. "As business performance increases,organizations are more comfortable with stabilizing salarybudgets.

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