Budget could restrict wage rises

Web technicians and brand consultants could be affected by Chancellor Gordon Brown’s proposals to stymie wage inflation, to be outlined in his Budget blueprint next week.

A Treasury spokesman cannot comment on how the Chancellor intends to cap wage increases, but confirms Brown is worried that certain parts of the economy could overheat with skill shortages driving up wages.

The spokesman cannot name the areas of primary concern, although he confirmed that the areas of construction and computing – both embracing design – are on the Chancellor’s agenda.

According to research by accountancy firm Willot Kingston Smith, wages across the design sector rose by around 7 per cent in 1995 and 1996.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests wages are increasing at a greater rate now, however,” says WKS partner Amanda Merron.

Merron says that, while most wages in the design sector are not spiralling, the wages of good designers with particular skills are rising faster than the average.

“The more fashionable areas like brand consultancy and the technical part of website design are rising faster than areas like graphics – at least for the bigger consultancies, which do the more prestigious projects and can afford to put up fees and therefore wages,” says Merron.

Major Players recruitment consultant Paula Carrahar says that while there might be a shortage of good designers, there is no overall shortage of designers.

“In the graphics sector wages are increasingly healthy, but not spiralling and generally lower than in advertising,” she says.

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