The CIPD’s latest Labour Market statistics suggest wage inflation will slow during the rest of 2016. It has been predicted that the employment landscape will see upcoming median pay rises of only 1.2%, in comparison to the more buoyant 2% increase witnessed three months ago.

At first glance such figures could be viewed as disheartening, but further analysis implies the reduction does not signify a drop in employer confidence. On the contrary, future jobs growth still looks set to retain its robustness. However increasing employment costs, such as auto enrolment pension contributions, have meant that many organisations have had to rein in their previous pay rise optimism.

So what do the findings mean for UK businesses, and where does HR and payroll software fit in?

I spoke to Cascade’s sales manager Marc Greggains to find out. “The employment landscape has opened up dramatically in recent times," he said. "I think it’s therefore important that organisations take steps to proactively calculate what level of additional financial reward they can offer, in order to thank and retain staff, without stretching their budget too thinly.”

Existing employee salaries can be brought out according to job role, department or the entire workforce, for example – it all depends on the criteria set by the user. Proposed pay rises can then be applied as a percentage increase, or as a new or changing amount. The inflation may differ on an individual or group level, or it can be made universally. The resulting data can either be tabulated in an Excel spreadsheet or presented more graphically for board sign off.

Marc continues: “At the start of the year, some organisations may have intended to offer a 2% pay rise, but with the increased National Living Wage for example, this may no longer be feasible. It is important that organisations plan ahead and work out exactly what they can afford and when. There could even be some merit in passing more notable pay rises on to high performers or employees with skill-sets that are arguably harder to replace. The beauty of this easy-to-use tool is that it helps to understand just what is possible.”