At the beginning of 2014, salary increases are expected to hold steady. Averaging an increase around 3.1 percent across all industries and geographic areas of the United States. While these increases fall significantly lower than annual averages of the previous decade, they are expected to slowly increase as the recession ends and the overall economy recovers. But at the moment, increases between 3.0 and 3.5 percent seem to be the norm.

In fact, more employees will receive pay raises slightly below this average than slightly above, but the average totals hold steady due to larger variations on the upper end of the scale. This is largely credited to an increase in raises issued on a performance basis. Employees deemed to be of higher value will be rewarded with higher increases, though increases overall will be modest.

Employers Face a Challenging Decision

Employers in 2014 will find themselves caught between two conflicting impulses, and the way they navigate this challenge will vary by industry, position level, and geographic need. On one side of the equation, an economic recovery will mean greater options for job seekers. While employers in recent years have gathered dozens