Thousands of PwC employees are getting a 9% pay increase in response to rising costs of living and a competitive hiring market, the accounting giant said.
The company said half of its more than 20,000 employees in the UK would get at least a 7% increase, while 70% would get a 9% increase or more.
With job openings at an all-time high, many companies are offering pay increases to attract and retain staff.
But ministers have warned that large salary increases could fuel price increases further.
Inflation – the rate at which prices rise – reached 9.1% in UK in Maythe highest level in 40 years.
For many people, however, wages are lagging behind, where regular wages fall the fastest in more than ten years, taking into account rising prices†
PwC said salaries for many of its entry-level programs would also rise, with entry-level salaries in audit positions increasing by 10% and consulting graduates up just over 8%.
Chairman Kevin Ellis said the company “cannot ignore market pressures and want to ensure that compensation is as competitive as possible at every level”.
“We know that pay will become an increasingly important consideration given the rising cost of living – we want to remain competitive and continue to attract the best talent and skills from across the UK,” he added.
The company said it invested more than £120m in pay increases and allocated a further £138m in bonuses this year, up £10m from the previous year.
Other companies, such as Lloyds Bankstaff have offered one-off payments to help them cope with the rising cost of living.
However, Ellis said the base salary was “particularly important… given the impact it can have on mortgages and future pay.”
Earlier this week, a union representing Rolls-Royce employees has rejected the company’s offer for a one-off payment of £2,000and said it was “well below the real cost of living that our members face”.
Other sectors have also increased wages in recent months, with supermarket chains Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda all announcing hikes in their battle for staff.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport trade union (RMT), which was at the center of the railway strikes last week, is aiming for a wage increase of at least 7%.
The union says Network Rail’s offer of a 2% pay rise, with the possibility of a further 1%, was “unacceptable”, pointing to the rising cost of living.
In May, official figures showed there were more job vacancies than unemployed in the UK for the first time since registration began.
However, earlier this month, Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke warned workers not to expect their wages to rise in line with inflation.
He told the BBC that large salary increases to meet the rising cost of living could lead to a 1970s-style ‘inflationary spiral’, with companies raising wages and then passing costs on to customers through higher prices.
The independent public sector wage control agencies will report in the coming weeks on the level of increase for workers – including healthcare workers, schools and prisons.
Unions insist that the wage increases reflect the rising cost of living.
But Mr Clarke, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in charge of the wage assessment body’s process, said there is no automatic link between inflation and wage setting.